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Hulu Unveils New Pause Ad Experience

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By Jeremy Helfand

Part of becoming the #1 choice for TV, both in and out of the home, means also building the most innovative ad experiences for consumers and brands.

Just as consumers’ viewing habits have evolved, their expectations for advertising have also changed.  Viewers no longer accept an irrelevant, intrusive ad experience and appreciate when brands tell their stories in authentic and integrated ways. To stand out and continue engaging their target audiences, brands must rise to the challenge and flex their creative muscles to go beyond the traditional commercial break.

Enter Hulu’s new Pause Ad, which provides a non-intrusive, viewer-initiated ad experience that is both delighting to viewers and effective for brands.

Because a viewer-first ad experience is Hulu’s priority, we conduct extensive user testing before rolling out product features. Our pause ad research found that consumers generally preferred ads that were subtle and non-intrusive, and that extensive audio and video when pausing was considered disruptive. These insights led us to take our current approach to pause ads, and the research so far has shown a positive response from viewers.

With Hulu’s new pause ads, advertisers no longer need to interrupt the storytelling experience to get their message in front of the viewer. The pause ad takes advantage of the natural behavior exhibited in streaming TV viewing today. It is non-disruptive and viewer-initiated, and appears when a viewer pauses the content they’re watching. This high-impact ad execution currently consists of two elements – ad creative supported by contextually relevant messaging along with a background gradient to distinguish the ad from the content scene.

We are testing our new pause ads with two national brands, Coca-Cola and Charmin as our beta advertising partners. Hulu expects to introduce this new format in Q2 2019 for select content within the Hulu streaming library.

As part of our ongoing investment in non-disruptive advertising and Hulu’s leadership in the transformation of TV advertising, we’re excited to bring this new, unique opportunity for storytelling to the market and can’t wait to release it more broadly to our partners.

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