Advanced Television

Hulu: Binge watching ad experience

December 13, 2019

By Colin Mann

US video-on-demand service Hulu is launching what it says is the industry’s first ad experience tailored to binge watching, designed to connect brands with binge watchers.

In a blog post, Jeremy Helfand, VP, Head of Ad Platforms, Hulu, says that leaning into your favourite TV shows has never been easier. “Thanks to streaming, consumers now have countless episodes and movies at their fingertips, all available on their own terms. And they are increasingly choosing that experience: today, the number of households that subscribe to streaming services outnumber those subscribing to traditional pay-TV services,” he notes.

“Streaming TV has changed how viewers watch their favourite content. For example, 75 per cent of US consumers say they indulge in binge watching their favourite shows and, on Hulu, nearly 50 per cent of ad supported viewing hours are spent this way. Hulu defines binge watching as a viewer watching three or more episodes of a given series at a time. As consumers’ viewing habits continue to shift, advertisers expect new and innovative ways to captivate these audiences.,” he suggests.

“Today, Hulu is launching the industry’s first ad experience tailored to binge watching, with our exclusive agency partner, Publicis Media, and first wave of exclusive launch advertisers – Kellogg’s, Maker’s Mark,” and Georgia-Pacific,” he advises.

“By harnessing our deep, first-party viewer insights, the binge ad experience is tailored to the viewer’s situation and will reward them for bingeing with the next episode commercial-free or a personalised offer from a brand,” he explains.

“A critical component of this ad experience is the use of machine learning to predict when viewers are likely to start binge watching a show. The creative execution then serves contextually relevant messaging from our brand partners that acknowledges a binge watching session has begun. All of this culminates when a viewer reaches their third episode, where creative messaging reveals that the next episode is ad-free or provides a unique offer from our brand partners,” he says.

“A laser focus on consumer occasions is one lever we pull when making marketing decisions at Kellogg,” said Gail Horwood, Chief Marketing Officer, Kellogg’s North America. “Cheez-It Snap’d, with its lighter texture, amped up cheese flavour and lower-volume crunch, was specifically designed for munching during TV viewing. Engaging with, and rewarding consumers, during a marathon entertainment session allows us to be an intrinsic part of this unique snacking occasion and taps into the thrill TV fans have when they’re racing through their favourite shows.”

“The Sparkle brand is always looking to give our consumer more of what she wants, whether what she wants is more sheets on a roll or the ability to watch more of her favourite show without interruptions. Our new campaign aims to share the news that Sparkle paper towels now have 200 more sheets per pack (vs previous generation Sparkle 9 = 11). With this message in mind, we challenged our media partners to help us find opportunities that connect to this message of ‘more of what you want.’ When Hulu approached us about the binge ad experience, we were excited that it was not only a great fit with our campaign message, but an innovative ad product that is grounded in our consumer’s evolving media behaviour.” says Jason Ippen, Vice President of Integrated Brand Building at Georgia-Pacific.

“Viewers desire advertising that is integrated and less disruptive to their storytelling experience,” says Helfand. “That’s why we’re committed to driving innovation that considers behaviour and context when building new formats and experiences. At Hulu, we are transforming advertising to make it better for both the viewer and the advertiser, and binge ads are one of the many examples of that.”

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