Hulu or Netflix: In the game of streaming video, you win or you socialize

With over 23 million subscribers in the U.S. and Canada, Netflix has roughly 25 times more paying customers than competing online video service Hulu. However, Hulu is by far the more dominant streaming service when it comes to social interaction, according to data collected by social media listening firm Mashwork.

“In terms of a ‘A to B’ comparison, we were surprised by how unsocial the Netflix users were,” said Mashwork founder Jared Feldman, who highlighted the large discrepancy between Netflix and Hulu’s total subscribers.

“Obviously [Hulu] is at a disadvantage because they’re late to the game, but Hulu has a social component the company is using to grow [its] subscribers,” Feldman said.

Mashwork filtered over 10,000 tweets mentioning people’s preferences regarding Netflix, Hulu Plus (Hulu’s paid service) and traditional cable services. The results revealed that 29 percent of the tweets preferred Netflix — 9 percent higher than the number of tweets preferring Hulu Plus. But considering how many more Netflix users there are, Feldman said he expected the percentage to be much higher over Hulu.

The data also indicated that many people have yet to try the Hulu Plus service, which means the company’s subscriptions could potentially grow much larger over time. Hulu itself is reporting higher than expected growth rates to its subscriptions, according to the company’s 2011 second quarter progress report.

Hulu recently relaunched Facebook integration that lets people comment on specific portions of a video using their Facebook account. The company’s first attempt at integration resulted in security breaches for some users, but the overall backlash was minimum.

“There is a lack of social media integration on Netflix. Obviously that’s a conscious effort the company has made for whatever reason,” Feldman said.

One reason Netflix isn’t as eager to add socialization features to its streaming service could be that its library of content consists entirely of licensed media from outside companies.

Hulu, on the other hand, has more of an ownership mentality, since three of the four partners that own the streaming service (Disney, Comcast and News Corp.) are media companies.

Below is an infographic displaying the results of the Twitter-data gathered by Mashwork. As the data shows, Hulu’s strong social media presence could make the company a serious video streaming service competitor in the future.

Netflix or Hulu


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