Hulu CTO says live TV service off to smooth launch

Hulu
Hulu live TV has avoided any major hiccups so far.

Hulu CTO Tian Lim said that Hulu’s just-launched live TV service—which is still in beta—is off to a smooth start and has yet to experience any large-scale issues like competitors DirecTV Now and Sling TV.

At the Streaming Media East show, Lim told FierceOnlineVideo that it’s been the “biggest surprise of all” that Hulu live TV has avoided any major hiccups so far.

“Yes there are issues but they are very small, contained and generally not our fault, like internet and infrastructure outages,” Lim said.

Hulu is clearly bracing for some form of increased customer call volume with the recent announcement regarding plans to open a new Viewer Experience Operations headquarters in San Antonio, Texas, later this year.

“One of our key values at Hulu is putting the viewer first, and vital to that is crafting and delivering an extraordinary customer experience. In addition to building a great product, we’re building an infrastructure that allows us to provide the most personal, responsive and knowledgeable customer support for our viewers,” said Ben Smith, head of experience at Hulu, in a statement.

Related: Hulu opening new support center as live TV service launch approaches

Sling TV, one of the pioneers of the current wave of virtual MVPDs, experienced many outages early on, particularly during large audience TV viewing events like Monday Night Football and March Madness. Research firm nScreenMedia estimated that Dish lost $1 million in revenue and support costs when Sling TV buckled under the demand for a 2015 tournament semifinal game featuring Wisconsin and Kentucky.

At CES earlier this year, AT&T said DirecTV Now had experienced issues but said it was nothing like what they were expecting.

“Absolutely there were problems … the problems were not as big as I expected,” said AT&T Entertainment CTO Enrique Rodriguez. “I’m so proud of the quality we delivered.”

But since that time, DirecTV Now has experienced more issues with streaming, which it blames primarily on the size of its customer base.

"We saw more activity in one day than most (cross-platform streaming video services) see in a lifetime. This is the first live TV experience at scale,” said Tony Goncalves, senior VP of strategy and business development for AT&T Entertainment Group, told FierceWireless.