Opinions

Hulu's 2014 NewFront Kills

Posted by Katharine Panessidi on April 30th, 2014 at 9:35 pm

In my opinion Hulu's NewFront was a huge success: from comedians, actors and musicians taking the stage; to Head of Ad Sales Peter Naylor showing and telling the various ways brands can partner with hulu (one of the only NewFronts to actually spell this out in meaningful ways with examples!); to various stations around the lobby showcasing local experiences, content, and sponsorship options; to a simple NewFront app; to staged and communicated areas after the show where you can meet the approachable celebs who took the stage... They killed it!

Naylor shared the following stats, among others:

  • Hulu is working to get on cable set top boxes.
  • Hulu plus is currently on 400 million devices and recently reached 6 million subscribers this quarter. 1.6 million are hispanics.
  • Hulu just redesigned their iPhone app, including a beautiful new user interface.
  • The free version of Hulu will now be on mobile too (plus already was) this spring as an ad supported experience.
  • Hulu has exclusive on-demand programming including The Mindy Project and Community (stars of which I got pics with after the show - see below).
  • Hulu has a younger audience - more under 50 viewers than TV.
  • The lightweight TV viewer is a Hulu heavyweight.
  • According to Nielsen, brand recall on Hulu is 2x that of TV.
  • Hulu's premium content has a lower ad load than TV.
  • Hulu can provide a guaranteed demo at scale and you only pay when ads are viewed 100% to completion.

Some advertising options with Hulu:

  • Hulu's ads are anticipatory: based on location, device and demo. And they are also more relevant and can be tailored based on the user's response.
  • Naylor shared some neat interactive ad options. You can order from Pizza Hut in an ad overlay that pops up at dinner time - eCommerce baby!- and your content starts back up again once you're through. Corona Extra has also signed on to do some cross platform interactive ads with Hulu. There is also a Hulu 360 ad unit powered by Immersive Media.
  • Another advertising option is the creation and distribution of brand authored content aka branded content. Chipotle has partnered with Hulu to produce a show called "Farmed and Dangerous." There is also the Hulu Spotlight Series. One series is called "My Side of the Sky," sponsored by Subway. Other partners include Mario Batalli as talent and Hyundai as sponsor.
  • Naylor also showed a piece of content called "Flavor Quest" that is still in development, announcing that if you sponsor now, Hulu can create some great brand integration for you now, during the scripting stage.

I was very impressed that Hulu showed their ad formats, the benefits of partnering with Hulu, their original content, sponsored content, and even previewed a show that's up for sale with options for integration. They exemplified possible branded content integration by showcasing Jack Links' presence in the show The Awesomes by Seth Myers. There's a custom character, product placement and ads.

They also showed a few examples of original content on Hulu Latino - a demographic play that seems unique in the digital video NewFronts this week.

All in all I was very impressed - mainly because Hulu is doing some different advertising and actually showed it at their NewFront. I thought that was the point of this week, but many of the event producers seem to have missed that opportunity. Maybe they aren't sure how to partner with brands. Maybe they don't want brands to feel boxed in to only a few options. Regardless of the reasoning it seems like a missed opportunity when you have thousands of brands and agencies in the room wanting to invest (tell them how!). BUT, Hulu did show and tell. And I hope they get some takers.

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