Hulu calls for advertiser ‘bill of rights’ as streaming service moves into live streaming

US streaming service Hulu has used its digital NewFronts presentation to take aim at the likes of Facebook for charging brands for 30-second ads that play for just a few seconds.

"NEW YORK, NY - MAY 04: Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins speaks onstage at the 2016 Hulu Upftont on May 04, 2016 in New York, New York. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Hulu)"

Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins: “From 2017 Hulu will begin offering live streaming from broadcast and cable brands”

The charge was made in front of more than 1000 US media buyers, agencies and clients and came as Hulu also announced it would start providing the live streaming of sports and news on the platform from 2017.

Hulu sales boss Peter Naylor today told US marketers and agencies that he believed they should have a “bill of rights” with the platform which includes not only viewability and brand safety but also ensures companies pay only for ads that complete fully.

“You have the right to get the most value for your investment,” said Naylor, senior vice president for sales. “At Hulu we only charge you for ads that are fully played. That’s right – a 30-second spot that only plays for 29 seconds is not charged. That’s value and quality.”

Many media agencies and marketer dislike how they are charged for video ads, often after just a few seconds rather than if the ad is completed.

“I know many of you have concerns about adblocking, low viewability, fraud and other issues that conspire against ad effectiveness,” he said. “A recent GroupM report even went on to question the integrity of digital advertising as a whole.

“This is not the case on Hulu. On Hulu you have rights and I want to call them the Hulu advertisers’ bill of rights.

“You have a right to transact on viewability and we lead the industry in verified metrics. You have a right to market in a brand safe environment.”

Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins told the room that 2015 was the year when Hulu “broke out” and pushed how it was making a number of key content decisions.

“2016 is the year we go bigger and bolder,” he said. “We are doubling down on the strategy that brought us this far and expanding our content offering to include many new acquisitions.

“70% of our audience now watch Hulu on the big screen in the family room. We have literally put TV back in the TV.

“Our total audience now reaches 30m unique viewers. This is a world of difference to when Hulu launched eight years ago on PCs with an audience of college kids watching Family Guy in their dorm rooms. They have now grown up with us and now Hulu has become a destination for the entire family.”

In confirming media reports that they were moving into live streaming, Hopkins said: “From 2017 Hulu will begin offering live streaming from broadcast and cable brands.

“This means our viewers will be able to enjoy live sports, news and events in real time without a cable or satellite subscription. We are going to fuse the best of linear and on-demand in a deeply personal way.

“Very soon consumers will watch their favourite shows and cheer for their favourite teams all on Hulu.”

Hopkins also spoke about how the demographics of the platform had continued to broaden and were less and less youth focused.

“I’m proud to report in the last year Hulu has grown 33%,” he said. “By the end of this month we will have reached 12m (paying) subscribers, by hours per viewer is up 30% and total streams are up 78%.”

The Hulu CEO said that of its 30m users 12m were paying subscribers who opted out of the ads but this still left a strong core of ad-funded consumers.

“Advertising will remain a cornerstone of Hulu’s foundation as we continue to redefine television,” he said. “Hulu is the only avenue to advertise in the premium video space. Nearly 60% of Americans stream content on an SVOD service but Hulu is the only place (marketers) can advertise.”

Nic Christensen in New York 


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.