I neither own nor want a television. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not because of some hipster moral high ground, but because I have a better alternative. It’s Hulu.com. I can now watch all of my favorite shows online and at my own leisure. I remember when I first stumbled on the URL…it was the classic movie scene where two lovers are running across a field and hug it out. I may be exaggerating a bit, but Hulu is one online service that I fully embrace.
Struggling with the financial, moral, and legal issues of other substitutes (downloading torrents and buying expensive iTunes shows), using Hulu is a no-brainer. The only cost of Hulu is having to watch the commercials; yet, they are relatively painless compared to primetime. The commercial spots are done well and appeal to my interests.
Hulu has changed the online advertising game. They demand that advertising be for only one company per show. This guarantees that a unified message is sent to the consumer. Hulu also allows consumers to get involved in the advertisements. User participation can be applied to which type of commercial you would rather see, length of commercial, and other various options. The divorce of Hulu and Comedy Central is proving this practice successful.
Comedy Central could not reach a deal with Hulu to keep The Colbert Report and The Daily Show. However, Comedy Central does mention the overall utility of Hulu… “We’ve had very strong results for both Hulu and for Comedy Central, in terms of the views and the revenue we’ve generated … we’ve driven steadily increasing revenue per view as advertisers voted with their budgets to take advantage of innovative ad formats and very strong advertising effectiveness.”
Welt’s Take: Hulu has become an advertising “canary in the coal mine”. The site started with traditional online advertising, but progressed into more sophisticated techniques. Comedy Central’s flattering comments lead me to believe they will return to Hulu once a lower number is reached. The Hulu way of advertising is too effective for Comedy Central to pass on. Expect this style of consumer interaction to hit mainstream Internet soon.
Do you use Hulu? If so, share your favorite Hulu clip with us. Maybe even tell us your thoughts on their advertising scheme!
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