Dec 12, 2019

Hulu debuts ad units catered to binge watchers


Hulu on Thursday rolled out "binge" ads that only appear for users who are binge-watching a certain TV series. The ads are co-branded with Hulu in an effort to make them feel less intrusive and commercial than regular TV ads.

Why it matters: Hulu Vice President and Head of Advertising Platforms Jeremy Helfand says that in total, 50% of ad-supported viewing hours on Hulu take place in a binge-watching fashion.

Details: The new ads only begin to appear during the third episode of the viewer's experience. They are meant to reward viewers who are spending lots of time on Hulu consecutively. There are two types of new binge ad formats:

  1. Ad-free episode: These ads offer an ad-free episode courtesy of an advertiser. The ads appear for 10 seconds with a customized message to let the user know that they've unlocked an ad-free episode, sponsored by an advertiser.
  2. Promotion ads: These ads allow advertisers to peddle promotions, courtesy of Hulu. For example, Cheez-its, one of Hulu's commercial launch partners for binge ads, will be offering consumers $1 off of their product for watching the ad.

The new ads will launch with Cheez-its, Makers Mark and Sparkle paper towels as exclusive ad partners. Publicis, one of the world's largest global ad agencies, will be Hulu's agency launch partner.

The big picture: Hulu has been tinkering with ways to create new types of ads that are less intrusive and more aligned with modern TV viewers' behavior habits.

  • In January, Hulu rolled out "pause" ads, or ads that appear on a users' screen when they hit the pause button while watching a show.
  • In June, Hulu debuted its "viewer-first" advertising philosophy, which contends that ads should be consistent, relevant and immersive for viewers. From an advertiser's perspective, the ads will be more effective if they're enjoyed by the consumers. As part of that philosophy, Hulu launched an ad frequency cap.

Be smart: Hulu is one of the few TV streaming companies that's relying on ads to grow its business. In May, Hulu Senior Vice President and Head of Advertising sales Peter Naylor said that 70% of its viewers are on the ad-supported plan.

  • Helfand says that the company's goal is to have 50% of its ads revenue come from selling less-disruptive advertising formats within three years.

Go deeper: Hulu debuts "pause ads" in effort to make TV ads less annoying

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Updated 2 mins ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Over 500 schools in South Korea have either closed or postponed reopening, according to the Korea Times, which cites data from the Ministry of Education.

Why it matters: South Korea has been a model for how to handle the novel coronavirus, and the closures reportedly followed concerns from parents and teachers over child safety. The country's confirmed death toll has plateaued at 269 over the past few days, with few increases, per Johns Hopkins data.

Updated 3 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 5,877,503— Total deaths: 362,731 — Total recoveries — 2,464,595Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 1,735,971 — Total deaths: 102,286 — Total recoveries: 399,991 — Total tested: 15,646,041Map.
  3. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March —How the U.S. might distribute a vaccine.
  4. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  5. Supreme Court: Senators Grassley, Leahy urge Supreme Court to continue live streams post-pandemic.
  6. Business: Fed chair Powell says coronavirus is "great increaser" of income inequality.
  7. 🚀 Space: How to virtually watch SpaceX's first crewed launch Saturday.

Trump to end Hong Kong’s special trade status

President Trump. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump announced on Friday that the U.S. would be fundamentally changing longstanding policies toward Hong Kong as a result of Chinese encroachment on the city's autonomy.

Why it matters: Trump said he would be effectively ending the special trade status that has allowed Hong Kong to flourish as a gateway to the Chinese market. That leaves an uncertain future for businesses that operate in Hong Kong, not to mention the city's 7 million residents, and could be met with reprisals from Beijing.