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New Hulu advertising strategy aims to improve binge-watching

(BUSINESS NEWS) Hulu has a new advertising process that may give them an edge in the expanding streaming service industry. Targeted ads that open an ad free episode.

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The Internet has changed the way we watch TV (who among us has not binge-watched something?) and advertisers on Hulu are rushing to keep up. See, when it comes to watching shows, Hulu is at a bit of a disadvantage – many of their viewers still face ad breaks. Unlike other companies (looking at you, Netflix) that are ad-free, Hulu users are bombarded with ads during a potential binge-watching session.

That might be changing soon.

Kelloggs, Georgia-Pacific and Maker’s Mark have partnered up with Hulu to provide an advertising experience fit for the binge-watching crowd. When users reach their third episode, ads will begin to be more tailored towards the individual, culminating with an advertisement from one of these three companies offering an opportunity to watch the fourth episode ad-free.

What advertisements pair well with binge-watching? Well, as far as Kellogg’s is concerned, it’s snack food. Specifically, their Cheez-It Snap’d snack. It’s a pretty smart move, aiming food advertisements at the person who’s been watching for at least an hour and a half – especially when you’re offering them a break from watching the same couple ads over and over again.

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Now, you might be wondering how a company can tell you’re binge-watching. It’s the same way Spotify knows what songs to recommend to you or Google autocompletes your search result: machine learning. This will also likely play a hand in what sort of special ads you are offered during a nice session of television.

Of course, these binge-specific ads are just the latest in a long line of advertisement experimentation by Hulu. As one of the few streaming services that subjects users to ads, Hulu has had quite a bit of ground to make up in order to compete with other sites, like Netflix and Amazon Prime. From interactive ads to ads that only appear when videos are paused, Hulu is working hard to integrate advertising into a new form of television consumption.

Will special binge-watching ads give companies an edge? Can they help Hulu increase marketability to demographics who aren’t just watching one episode anymore? Only time can tell. For now…we might just be craving some cheese crackers.

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Brittany is a Staff Writer for The American Genius with a Master's in Media Studies under her belt. When she's not writing or analyzing the educational potential of video games, she's probably baking.

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