To the general public, Hulu is known as a streaming service that has it all - from original content to next-day access to your favorite cable shows.
As a leading TV streaming platform outside of Disney+ and Netflix, Hulu is also a leader as an advertising platform in the streaming TV world.
Many consumers are cutting the cord regarding cable offerings and shifting to platforms like Hulu that provide a wide variety of content. Small businesses and other companies can explore how to use their traditional TV advertising services for platforms like Hulu, HBO Max, and more.
This article breaks down how Hulu became a pioneer in the streaming ads space, how their ad experience differs from other OTT platforms, their most popular content, and the background of the streaming platform.
A Guide to Hulu Advertising
Interested in advertising on Hulu? Connect with an OTT advertising company to get started on your ad campaigns.
History of Hulu
In 2007, Hulu was launched as an ad-supported video platform for TV shows and films, but wasn’t opened to the general public until early 2008.
Hulu was a creation between NBC Universal and 20th Century Fox with a $100 million investment from partners like MSN, Yahoo!, and others.
Within the first year, their catalog went from a few dozen shows to more than a thousand, which led to backlash from cable TV providers that argued Hulu was hurting their business.
After a few days after airing on network TV, Hulu provides access to certain shows that air in real-time on cable - over time, the number of viewers online began to outgrow the viewers watching live at home.
Hulu launched a Live TV plan that encourages more consumers to cancel their cable plans - even marketing the service as “Only $69.99/month. Cancel anytime. No cable required.”
The live TV plan allows users to watch over 75 channels that showcase news, live sports events, and other endless entertainment hassle-free.
Continuing their expansion, the Walt Disney Company bought 20th Century Fox, making it the majority owner of Hulu, ESPN, and other services. It was also announced that Disney would buy Comcast’s interest in Hulu, making them the sole owner of the company by 2024.
Unlike other streamers just launching their ad-supported tiers, Hulu has always been an ad platform with different ad formats for their audiences.
What is Hulu Advertising?
As of the third quarter of 2022, Hulu had over 46 million paid subscribers.
On their website, Hulu notes that their advertising offering is their most popular, and in 2019, 70% of total Hulu subscribers opted for their ad-supported plans.
While there are various ad formats available for specific audiences on the streamer, most of the advertisements are 30-second ads.
Advertising is essentially a staple of Hulu - even “No Ads” plans have a quick ad before or after each episode, and the Live TV plans have TV ads playing regularly.
So if users can’t escape advertising on Hulu, select a plan that works well for your household.
What are Hulu’s ad-supported plans?
Hulu offers different subscription options to fit budget and entertainment needs for a variety of demographics.
Along with their traditional plans that offer a vast streaming library, Hulu offers partner, premium, and live tv add-ons.
Plans & Pricing
- Hulu (with ads) - $7.99/month ($79.99/year)
- Hulu (No Ads) - $14.99/month
- Hulu+ (Live TV now with Disney+ and ESPN+) -$69.99/month
- Hulu (No Ads)+ (Live TV now) - $75.99/month
For viewers that want just add-ons with Disney+ and ESPN+, they can expect an additional $3-10/month to their traditional plans. For premium add-ons that can include HBO Max, Showtime, and more, expect between $9-15 per month.
Live TV add-ons vary between $5-10 per month, including entertainment, sports, and language-centric packages.
Explore more information on Hulu’s ad packages here.
How to Advertise on Hulu
Until recently, advertisers needed to contact Disney’s ad sales to purchase ad slots on Hulu. However, they launched a beta version of a a self-service ad platform — called Hulu Ad Manager — in 2020, changing how advertising on streaming services operates.
Hulu Ad Manager helps businesses manage and activate their advertisements in an organized way. The tool allows advertisers to control what advertisements are shown to specific audiences and uses various digital marketing tools to promote their business. This makes it extremely easy for advertisers to manage their ad spend and create targeted campaigns.
Contact Disney Ad Sales to build out an effective ad campaign on Hulu.
While some companies with large campaign budgets may still need to work directly with an ad salesperson, many are able to use Hulu Ad Manager themselves. This is particularly beneficial for small businesses looking to advertise on the OTT platform.
How to advertise on Hulu:
- Manage your schedule and set a budget
- Determine your audience
- Upload your ad for review
- Add a form of payment
- Measure and optimize campaign performance
When brainstorming ad content, it is important to optimize and edit your advertisements to help them gain traction and have a more extended engagement on outside platforms like social media.
Learn more about how Hulu Ad Manager works here.
How Much Do Hulu Ads Cost?
Pricing for Hulu ads caters to businesses of all sizes. After all, the minimum ad budget for Hulu Ad Manager is just $500.
Hulu usually charges $25—$30 CPM (cost per thousand impressions). At this price, Hulu ads are on-par with many streaming competitors such as HBO Max, Discovery+, and Peacock.
However, the price of Hulu Ads vary. Considering factors like ad restrictions and types of video ads, the price range for advertising on Hulu is between $500-$100,000.
Types of Video Ads on Hulu
For their viewers, Hulu offers different ad formats.
Standard Video Ads
Standard video ads appear as a normal commercial break ad during a streaming session.
Branded Slate Ads
Slate ads are shown as the show begins - like an ad that shows a brand logo and sponsors the upcoming program.
Have you ever been watching a program and the ad says “the following show is brought to you by ‘XX’” - that is a branded slate ad.
An ad selector allows viewers to make the choice in their ad content. The advertiser offers users 2-3 options, and then the user can select one of the options.
For example, if a fitness company offers the user a choice between workout products, the user can choose the motorbike option and then only see those related ads during the show or movie.
If you’re binging your favorite new show and an ad pops up that encourages you to keep watching, that’s a binge ad.
Companies can work with streaming services to curate ads that can reach viewers using their brands.
For example, a snack company can create an ad encouraging users to keep snacking and binging the show.
Advertisers can display their products using interactive ads - these ads can inform viewers about the brand’s latest products and services.
For example, a resort can take potential vacationers on a journey through their different activities with a self-select interactive ad. Viewers can explore a water park or explore spa options with a touch of their remote.
You can explore more Hulu advertising options here.
Top Hulu Shows for 2022
According to Nielsen, Viewers spent 3.6% of all TV time on Hulu, spending a combined 3 billion minutes watching The Bear and Only Murders in the Building.
Here are some of the other most popular original TV content this year that helped Hulu become a top streamer.
- The Dropout
- Tell Me Lies
- The Kardashians
- Under the Banner of Heaven
- The Handmaid’s Tale
- Pam & Tommy
Additional Reading: ‘The 15 Best Original Series on Hulu’
Audience Targeting on Hulu
Hulu ads can be extremely personalized. The advertisements are able to be targeted to a specific audience by show genre, location, age, gender, and interests.
If you’re a small business looking to run ads locally, that can happen with Hulu - as long as you follow their advertising policies.
After recent backlash from the Democratic party, Hulu now accepts ads for political issues.
Their company statement on political ads addressed the following:
“Hulu will now accept candidate and issue advertisements covering a wide spectrum of policy positions, but reserves the right to request edits or alternative creative, in alignment with industry standards.”
Experimentation is a great way to craft an advertising campaign - try to be innovative and thought-provoking while attending to Hulu’s ad policies.
The Future of Hulu Streaming
Hulu’s presence within the streaming world continues to evolve - with all of the easy-to-use, built-in tools, it is a prime streaming to increase brand awareness and reach your target audience with advertising.
Whether you’re looking to create a big ad campaign to increase sales or looking to spread out with smaller advertisements, consider advertising your business on Hulu as another touchpoint of your marketing strategy.