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Hulu Opens ‘Gateway’ to Interactive Advertising

(Image credit: Disney)

Hulu, in its first upfront as part of The Walt Disney Co., emphasized new ways its advertisers could reach streaming viewers.

Advertisers including direct-to-consumer marketers SmileDirectClub, The RealReal and SweetGreen are among the launch partners for what Hulu is calling Gateway Go, which using interactive second-screen technology to send viewers QR codes and push notifications, so that those viewers can immediately react to brand offers on their mobile devices.

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Hulu released research about the viewers no longer watching pay-TV, which it labels as Generation Stream. Hulu said that 37% of Generation Stream fall into the Streaming Only category, which means streaming is their exclusive source of TV. At the same time 47% were labeled Streaming Most, because they do a lot of streaming, and 16% were Streaming Also, they stream as a supplement to over-the-air and pay TV. 

According to the research 86% of Hulu viewers are in the Stream Only or Stream Most categories. More than 80% of Hulu subscribers said they recommend brands to friends and two-thirds say they like advertising. They’d like advertising more if it was personalized, said three quarters of the streamers.

Hulu said it is working with Nielsen Media Impact to give media planners and buyers more accurate estimates about what their reach is across the entire Disney Advertising Sales platform.

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At the Disney Upfront Roadshow earlier this month, Disney unveiled Disney Hulu XP, the first unified cross-platform product for advertisers across the Disney platform.  

“We pride ourselves on being home to the best Sports, Entertainment, and Streaming TV brands in the business and have the unique ability to deliver both massive scale and specific audience targets,” said Rita Ferro, president, advertising sales for the Walt Disney Co. “Now, as one platform under Disney Advertising Sales, we have the most powerful capabilities to connect our clients to Generation Stream and to deliver unmatched results across every category.”

At its virtual NewFront show, which was entitled "Green is Good," Hulu piped in talent from its original series including Ramy Youssef, Elisabeth Moss, Nicole Kidman, Chris Rock, Cate Blanchett, Kate McKinnon, Jeff Bridges, Lamorne Morris, Sarah Paulson, Tony Hale, The RZA, Amy Schumer, Martin Short and Steve Martin.  

Upcoming Hulu original dramas include Dopesick and The Mysterious Benedict Society and comedies in the works include Only Murders in The Building with Steve Martin, Love Beth with Amy Schumer and Woke, a semi-animated show featuring Lamorne Morris. Hulu recently renewed Crossing Swords and Solar Opposites.

“Streaming is leading one of the most profound consumer behavior shifts in history. For advertisers, streaming TV is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’ or ‘a place to test and learn.’ It’s a must have, and it will redefine advertising in the same way that search did twenty years ago,” said Kelly Campbell, who was named president of Hulu this year. “Hulu is proven in this space and was made for this very moment: we have the experience, the storytelling, the data and the scale to put television budgets to work, help brands connect authentically with audiences and drive results.” 

The streaming service also said it was bringing back Huluween. Viewers watched 6.2 billion minutes of Halloween content in 2019 and advertisers got a 55% increase in ad recall and an 80% increase in brand association while advertising in Huluween programming.

New Huluween originals include Books of Blood, Bad Hair, Helstrom and Monsterland.