Hulu Launches Live TV Service In Beta, Adds NBC Programming

What Happened
On Monday, Hulu announced it has reached an agreement with NBCUniversal to add programming from NBC and Telemundo-owned networks to its upcoming live TV subscription.  This rounds out all four major broadcasters for Hulu’s live service, which is set to launch in the coming months. Moreover, this deal also gives Hulu a nice boost in terms of sports programming, as it gains access to a range of NBC-owned sports content, including Sunday Night Football and the Olympics. The comprehensive lineup should give Hulu an edge as it sets to compete in a crowded market against other OTT live TV services including DirecTV Now, Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, and YouTube TV.

Update May 3: Hulu Live service is now available (in “beta”) for $39.95 a month. Per Ad Age, this live TV service will include “dynamic ad insertion capabilities, meaning advertisers can serve messages to specific targeted audiences. The navigation screen will also allow for additional advertising opportunities beyond the 15 and 30-second spots.”

What Brands Need To Do
Hulu currently has over 12 million subscribers in the U.S., making it the third biggest OTT streaming service after Netflix and Amazon Prime. Unlike the other OTT streaming services, Hulu is an ad-supported service, and the upcoming live TV service should continue to make the case for Hulu as a brand-friendly platform. With U.S. cord-cutting households hitting over 25%, it is important that brands look for new ways to reach those viewers and take advantage of the addressable viewer data that those OTT streaming platform offers to explore better targeting options.


Source: TechCrunch

Hulu Strikes Partnership With Strata For OTT Ads

What Happened
Hulu is teaming up with Strata, an ad buying and selling marketplace, to build an ad platform geared toward streaming video. Strata, whose software is used by 99% of broadcast stations as well as over 1,000 ad agencies, says this new platform will offer advertisers an ad buying experience similar to that of local linear TV for Hulu’s streaming content across viewing devices. Hulu will convert ad impressions to TV rating-like metrics to make it easier for ad buyers to incorporate Hulu into their media mix.

What Brands Should Do
This partnership is particularly interesting considering that Hulu has just inked deals with Disney and Fox to carry their channels on its upcoming OTT live TV bundle, which could push more viewers to drop their cable subscriptions. With more and more viewers choosing on-demand viewing over linear TV, brands need to consider adjusting their media mix and increasing ad buys on ad-supported streaming services such as Hulu to follow the eyeballs.

To learn more about how brands can reach viewers on OTT platforms with ads or branded content, please check out the Appified TV section in our Outlook 2016.


Source: AdWeek

Hulu Shuffles Ad-Supported TV Content To Yahoo

What Happened
Hulu is set to end its ad-supported TV service as it aims to push for paid subscriptions. The free-to-watch content will be distributed via Yahoo as part of an expanded deal it inked with Yahoo for the impending launch of streaming service Yahoo View, for which Yahoo will be using Hulu’s video player and running ads sold by Hulu’s sales team. Hulu, which recently added Time Warner as a minority shareholder, has amassed 12 million subscribers and launched a completely ad-free subscription tier last fall.

Why Brands Should Care
As viewers get increasingly accustomed to the ad-free experience that popular OTT services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video provide, it is understandable that Hulu is revising their content structure and focusing on building its paid subscription service instead. Soon, Hulu will most likely carry no ads in its SVOD service. (It will most likely still carry ads in its upcoming Live TV service.) But for advertisers, the ad inventory that Hulu provided will simply move to Yahoo’s new streaming service.

For more information on how brands can effectively reach consumers who are actively choosing to avoid ads, please check out the Ad Avoidance section of our Outlook 2016.


Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Hulu Announces New Interactive Ads At NewFronts

What Happened
Hulu is expanding its interactive ads to target viewers watching in their living rooms, as the ad-supported streaming service announced a series of new ad deals at its NewFronts event on Wednesday morning. The company is working with BrightLine, an interactive advertising firm, to bring interactive ads to connected TV devices, including Roku set-top boxes or PlayStations, this summer. The new ads will enable living room viewers to click on an ad using their remote to learn more details about a particular brand, just like they would with the clickable ads that Hulu already serves on the desktop web.

Besides bringing interactive ads into the living room, Hulu is upping its ad measurement game by incorporating Nielsen’s digital ad ratings to its campaign reports. It is also teaming up with market research firm Millward Brown to offer brands more insights for their ads and will be working with our sibling agency Magna Global on that initiative as well.

What Brands Need To Do
With more and more viewers abandoning linear TV viewing in favor of on-demand viewing enabled by streaming services like Hulu, it is imperative that brands follow the eyeballs. According to Hulu, 70% of its content views now occurs on connected TV devices, whereas only 15% happens on the desktop. Therefore, it makes perfect sense for Hulu to extend its interactive ad unit to the living room. For brands, this extension, along with the improved measurement, should be helpful for reaching and engaging a big part of Hulu’s audience.

To read more on how brands can deal with the shift toward SVOD platforms, please check out the Appified TV section in our Outlook 2016.


Source: AdWeek

Fox And Disney To Sell Skinny Bundle Via Hulu (Update: NBC Too)

What Happened
Hulu is reportedly planning a new SVOD subscription for both live and on-demand access to content from broadcast and cable channels owned by Disney and 21st Century Fox, such as ABC, Fox, ESPN, and FX, for about $40 a month. The bundle is reportedly set to become available starting early next year.

Why Brands Should Care
With more and more viewers choosing the convenience of OTT streaming services over the rigid live programming grid and expensive cable TV bills, media owners are responding to consumer demand and slowly opening up to streaming platforms. Last year, for example, HBO launched standalone streaming service HBO Now to allow viewers to subscribe without a cable plan. While there is no doubt that TV networks will continue to sell their programming to cable companies as long as the money is good, this announcement nevertheless signals a new path for traditional media owners – it shows their willingness to experiment with the OTT subscription model and see if they can skip the middleman and sell directly to consumers, especially cord-cutters and cord-nevers.

For brands, this ongoing shift in content distribution means that they need to figure out new ways to get their messages across, as most subscription services do not carry traditional ads. For more information on how brands can reach viewers on streaming platforms with branded content and sponsorships, check out the Appified TV section in our Outlook 2016.

Update 5/3: New reports say that NBC has also joined the discussion of taking part in the Hulu bundle.


Source: Re/Code

Hulu’s Virtual Reality App Coming Next Month

What Happened
Hulu is ready to step into virtual reality. The OTT streaming service has made a VR app set to launch next month, around the same time Samsung’s consumer-facing $99 Gear VR headset starts shipping. Hulu is the latest video streaming service to develop VR experiences to distribute their content. The app will provide users with customized immersive environments to watch Hulu’s existing non-VR content in, such as sitting in Jerry Seinfeld’s apartment for an episode of “Seinfeld.” Moreover, the company is also producing a VR short film called “The Big One,” and reportedly has more original VR content in the pipeline.

What Brands Need To Do
Virtual reality technologies bring a unique, immersive viewing experience to the audience, so it makes sense for the OTT video streaming services to get serious about VR for an extra competitive edge. And unlike Netflix or other popular OTT video services, Hulu is ad-supported for the most part, which opens doors for brands to get on board with their own VR content. As VR sits on the cusp of mass adoption, brands would be wise to explore this burgeoning medium to stay ahead of the curve.


Source: CNET

Why Hulu Is Considering An Ad-Free Tier

Hulu is ready to ditch the ads, at least partly. Wall Street Journal reports that Hulu may roll out an ad-free tier this fall and charge somewhere from $12 to $14 per month for it. Paid subscribers of Hulu (a tier formerly known as Hulu Plus) have long complained about having to sit through commercials despite paying $9.99 per month for the subscription.

While this move could finally help align the TV streaming service with its rivals Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, it also implies a lack of audience data on Hulu’s part to get the higher CPM rates for targeted ads, thus for it to be willing to forgo some of the ad revenues to gain more on subscription fee instead.

Source: Wall Street Journal

GoPro Gears Up For Original Content

Leading action camera maker GoPro has been distributing crowd-sourced videos shot with its products across social platforms, building a sizable following on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. Now, the company is ready to dive deeper into content marketing by producing original content. GoPro recently hired Charlotte Koh, who used to lead Hulu’s original content initiatives, as head of features and series. Early efforts will reportedly focus on unscripted and documentary content, although partnerships with Hollywood studios and networks to develop and co-produce new content are also in the works.


Source: Variety


Hulu Report Shows Viewers Prefer The Bigger Screen After All

Read the original story on: TechCrunch

As content streaming services like Netflix and HBO Now continue to infiltrate TV households in the States, traditional TV viewing in the living room is undeniably on decline as more and more viewers gain access to content on their PCs and mobile devices. Yet that doesn’t mean TV manufacturers should start panicking, as it turns out, people would still choose to watch content on the biggest screen under the roof.

A new report from Hulu indicates that living room viewing is actually on the rise, which now accounts for over 58% of Hulu’s content streams, up from 44% it recorded back in the Q1 of 2014. This means nearly 3 out of 5 people are watching Hulu with a streaming set-top box like Roku, which would provide a more lean-back experience that resembles traditional TV viewing.


New OTT Service Pluto TV To Get Free Content From Hulu

Read original article on: Variety

Pluto TV is a newcomer among the over-the-top content streaming services led by the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime, offering a centralized cable-TV-like programming grid that essentially repackages online videos from various sources for easier browsing. Relatively unknown, the Los Angeles-based startup made headlines last week with a new partnership with Hulu.

Under the distribution deal, Pluto TV has access to everything Hulu makes available on its free, ad-supported website, which includes current-season broadcast fare from ABC, NBC and Fox. CBS seems to be the only broadcaster holding out for now, which makes sense considering it has been aggressively pushing for its own “CBS All Access” standalone subscription service, going as far as pulling some of its old content off Netflix.

Overall, this seems to be a win-win situation for both parties. Pluto TV gains access to a great amount of quality content, significantly raising its profile as an OTT service, while Hulu gets to put its content on yet one more platform, along with the ads it serves. Moreover, the TV content from Hulu looks like a natural fit with Pluto TV’s linearly curated presentation. As the OTT space continues to evolve, we expect to see more partnerships between content providers and platforms.