on by in Advertising

With hundreds of channels, Hulu, Netflix, Xbox, tablets and smartphones, people have more access to more great content than ever before. What makes it even more amazing is that once a year 110 million of us sit down and watch the same thing — together.

That’s the Super Bowl, and that’s a big reason that the big game remains big business for advertisers. This year 30 seconds of Super Bowl time will cost advertisers $4 million. And that’s just the time. They’ll spend millions more to create their spots, promote them on the web and build marketing strategies around them that last long after the game is over. 

Here at Advertising Age, we talk about ads all year long. But this is the one time of year everyone talks about them. Indeed, the ads are part of the Super Bowl experience, and since this big audience comes just once a year, advertisers know they have just one chance to get it right. One chance to entertain YOU. 

Over the years, some have gotten it very, very right. Here are five of the top Super Bowl ads of all time, as picked by Advertising Age editors:

Apple: ’1984′

Coca-Cola: ‘Mean Joe Greene’

Budweiser: ‘True’ (Wassup)

Volkswagen: ‘The Force’ 

McDonald’s: ‘The Showdown’

 

Last year brought a bumper-crop of great ads. Here five great ones from 2013:

Samsung: ‘Next Big Thing’

Budweiser: ‘Brotherhood’

Coca Cola: ‘Security Cameras’

Ram Trucks: ‘Farmer’

Tide: ‘Miracle Stain’

 

To keep track of who’s buying what in the Super Bowl this year, check out our handy tracker and follow along for all our coverage of the business behind the Big Game

 

on by in Advertising

It has been a big year at Hulu. I feel very fortunate to have stepped into a company that has such a strong team, showing such incredible performance. I’m humbled by the work that the team has done this year, and the focus that they have continued to demonstrate. I’m pleased to report the results of the team’s great efforts this year.

Revenue. Hulu will reach $1 billion in revenue in 2013. That’s up from $695 million in 2012. When you think about the fact that Hulu first launched out of beta in 2008, it’s quite an impressive feat to scale the business from zero to $1 billion over the course of just six years. 

Hulu Plus. Earlier this year, we reached 5 million subscribers. Roughly 50% of those subscribers are now streaming exclusively on devices, with living room viewing accounting for over half of all content consumption on the service. Hulu Plus is now accessible on more than 400 million Internet connected devices in the U.S., including the all-new Xbox One, PlayStation®4, Chromecast, Nintendo 3DS and Windows Phone 8.* We also provided a refreshed and redesigned Hulu Plus experience on Apple TV, iPad, and millions of Samsung, Roku, and Wii devices. It is our goal to provide the best user experience possible on every device, so consumers can take their favorite TV shows with them on-the-go.

Content. We are continually adding to the content available on Hulu and Hulu Plus–this year, we grew our Hulu and Hulu Plus offerings to include premium programming from more than 488 content partners, providing over 86,000 TV episodes, 2,900 TV series, and 68,000 hours of video on Hulu and Hulu Plus (and growing). 

Hulu Plus is the only online video subscription service that offers current season content from five of the six largest U.S. broadcast networks. Hulu users can watch seven of the top 10 TV shows in primetime, anytime and anywhere, including Modern Family, The Voice, The Blacklist, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, Sleepy Hollow and many more.**

We launched more than 20 Hulu Originals in 2013, and plan to double that number over the next few years. Shows like The Awesomes, Behind the Mask and The Wrong Mans performed extremely well on the service, and were among the top 10 most-watched shows on Hulu each week a new episode aired.

We were excited to bring you over 2,000 new episodes and 144 titles through a content deal with BBC Worldwide North America that includes internationally-beloved favorites like Doctor Who, Luther, Top Gear and Sherlock. Additionally, we added the first four seasons of the critically acclaimed drama The Good Wife to the Hulu Plus library as part of our multi-year licensing agreement with CBS. And your kids will be entertained for hours with the new content we added to the Hulu Kids hub from the Jim Henson Family TV Library, giving Hulu Plus the rights to more Jim Henson Family titles than any other video subscription service in the U.S., including Fraggle Rock. We also added classic titles from PBS Kids and Lionsgate including Sesame Street and Thomas & Friends, as well as Spanish-language kids programming. 

We look forward to increasing our overall content offerings, and will continue to invest in last night’s TV, original first-run TV programming, and great library TV from the U.S. and other markets.

AdvertisingIn 2013, we saw our roster of advertisers expand to more than 1,000 brands–a 15% increase over last year. It was also a record year for consumption as Hulu viewers streamed more than 1 billion content videos in each quarter, and stayed with us for approximately 50 minutes per session in Q4. And throughout the year, Hulu remained #1 in engagement among top ad supported online video sites, and #1 in market share of all premium online video providers, maintaining our commitment to building the world’s most effective video advertising service and delivering industry-leading results for our advertising partners.

Hulu Japan. Hulu Japan is on track to end 2013 having more than doubled the number of subscribers from the beginning of this year. We now have over 50 content partners offering users more than 12,000 assets of TV dramas and movies, and Hulu is available on more than 90 million devices (PCs not included). 

Team. Over the course of the year, we hired over 260 new team members. Currently, the Hulu team is 725 members strong; that’s nearly 20% growth in our employee base year-over-year. In the last two quarters alone, we added over 140 new hires. I’d like to thank the Hulu team for their incredible commitment and execution, evidenced by the company’s continued growth.

It’s exciting for me to see the continued growth of the business and be part of such a great team. As we scale the business in 2014, we will continue to invest in content, technology and people. 2014 will bring even more opportunity as we find new ways to grow the business from the strong foundation we have built. Thank you for being users and fans of Hulu–we couldn’t do it without you.

*Not including laptop and desktop computers.
**Source: Nielsen NPM, October 2013.

 

on by in Advertising

<Earlier today, I sent the following email to the Hulu team>

We’ve recently had folks from the early days of Hulu hit their six year anniversaries.  And as expected for any company as it matures, we’ve had some important contributors make the difficult decision to head off to exciting new chapters of their lives beyond Hulu.  That’s part of the natural evolution and maturation process for any company, and I’m proud to see Hulu alums make their mark in other great companies, despite being very sorry to see them go.

It’s with that mix of emotions today that I share one such departure with you:  Jean-Paul (JP) Colaco (“our Chief Canadian Officer”) has decided to move on from Hulu later in October and pursue one of a few new startup opportunities he has in front of him.

Six years ago, JP Colaco and I both got the call to come join a new start-up that was setting out to change the way people find and watch their favorite TV shows.  It wasn’t called Hulu yet and it was a pretty risky opportunity . . . both from our perspectives as well as that of the press, who soon dubbed it “ClownCo”.  It was a tricky joint venture, funded by competitors in the broadcast world, and we all realized that you had to be a little bit crazy to sign on for this adventure.  But despite the risks, we couldn’t help ourselves.  The chance to help change how viewers watched TV was just too great to pass up, as was the opportunity to build a great place to work with the strong culture needed to thread all the needles required to make Hulu a success.  I remember JP in those early days meeting my then 3 year old son, Max, and demonstrating what a fun place Hulu was to work by holding him upside down by his ankles.  Max got the message and believed it, as did the many incredibly talented team members that joined us in the beginning and throughout the years that followed.  And for this great team, JP has served as a tremendous role model in driving truly world class execution but never letting anyone forget how important it is to have a lot of fun along the way.

JP is a Hulu builder through and through. As one of the original team members from the Fall of 2007, JP helped lay the foundation upon which everything since then has been built.  He drove much of the innovation in advertising that Hulu has become known for – including Ad Swap, Ad Selector, and 100% Completion Rate. Most importantly, JP has hired and mentored one of the most talented ad sales teams in the business.  The Hulu advertising team has driven revenue growth that is is truly unparalleled.  And in a testament to JP’s leadership, his team has the bench strength to carry on and continue to knock it out of the park without missing a beat.  That’s one of the highest accolades any leader can receive, and JP has built a fantastic team that will do exactly that.

Though we’re very sorry to lose him, JP will leave us with the company firing on all cylinders in terms of outputs.  2013 so far has been the strongest year yet for Hulu in terms of business results, including revenue and Hulu Plus subscriber growth.  We’re on track for revenue in the neighborhood of a billion dollars this year and subscriber growth remains strong. These great results are allowing us to continue to add great talent—we’ve added more than 90 new hires in the past 90 days.  That’s an incredible rate of growth, especially when we consider how high our bar is for talent.  I couldn’t be more proud of all of you Hulugans out there for staying so focused this year and continuing to deliver for our content partners, advertisers, and most of all, our loyal viewers who’ve made us such a big part of their lives.

JP has played a big role in allowing us to deliver these impressive results, and I’m very proud of what he’s accomplished here. JP and I are working through the transition plan, but in the meantime, please join me in thanking him for all his contributions and wish him the best in all he does in the future.

-Andy

on by in Advertising, Announcements, News

This morning at The Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour, we had the opportunity to share with an audience of distinguished TV critics a few of the 10 new shows on our upcoming slate of Hulu Original and Exclusives Series.

We’ve been talking about our line-up of Hulu Original and Exclusive Series all year–from announcing our 2013 slate of shows in January, to giving a sneak peek to Madison Avenue advertising heavyweights at the Hulu Upfront in April.

We began the treasure hunt for smart, distinctive TV content in 2011, as we aspired to be a home for great TV and help viewers find and enjoy the shows they love. We introduced some initial shows—shows from both the U.S. and the U.K. —shows we looked at and said “this is really great TV,” and from the enthusiastic response from viewers like yourself, we found that many of you agreed.

Since 2011, we have continued to delight our audience by introducing shows we’ve hand selected just for them—shows they’re seeing for the first time, and falling in love with, on Hulu. This year, we continue to deliver the great TV shows you have come to expect and enjoy from us, and give you a reason to come to Hulu to watch shows you can’t find anywhere else. 

At the end of this year looking back, we will have launched about 20 titles, including shows like “The Awesomes” (launching tomorrow, Aug. 1), “Quick Draw” (Aug. 5), “Behind the Mask” (Oct. 29), “Mother Up!” (Nov. 6) and “The Wrong Mans” (Nov. 11), which we showcased today in front of a crowd of television critics.

We’re also excited to announce for the first time, several new exclusive shows we’re bringing to the service later this year: “Run” (Aug. 20), a powerful four-part drama about inner city life starring Olivia Colman (“Rev”) and Lennie James (“Line of Duty”), “Fugget About It” (Oct. 13), an outrageous animated sitcom about the misadventures of Jimmy Falcone, a former mob boss who enters witness protection in small-town Canada, and “The Strange Calls” (Oct. 19), about bizarre late-night phone calls in a place where people turn to chickens and mermen go to the school dance. Fans can also expect the returns of hit series found exclusively on Hulu and Hulu Plus, “Misfits” (season 5) and Chris O’Dowd’s “Moone Boy” (season 2).

You can expect to see our number of first-run titles double in the next couple of years as we find more and more great shows to engage and excite viewers. We’re getting bigger and we’re getting better, and today we’re giving you just a sampling of some of the original and exclusive shows you’ll see from us this year, and can expect to see from us in the coming years. Happy watching, and let us know what you think.

The Awesomes

Quick Draw

The Wrong Mans

on by in Advertising, Announcements

Starting today, we’re excited to roll out a new and improved Hulu Plus experience on Samsung Smart TVs and select Blu-ray players*, Roku set-top boxes, and coming soon to the Wii console from Nintendo. The team of engineers at Hulu’s Seattle office has been hard at work enhancing and refining the user experience on these devices, and we hope you’re going to love the beautiful new Hulu Plus experience we’ve created for you.

Users can now enjoy their favorite shows and summer entertainment, including Hulu original and exclusive shows, through the new Hulu Plus experience on their favorite living room devices. In the fall of last year, we rolled out the new Hulu Plus living room experience, and the feedback from users has been extremely positive. We’re pleased to update the experience across millions of Samsung and Roku devices today, and on Wii soon, including:

    Artwork. Larger and more vivid artwork, easier navigation.
    Trays. Tray-style format allowing you to scroll through recommendations, popular shows and movies, top 100 clips, movie trailers and a new “Shows You Watch” feature that lets you jump straight to the latest episodes of the shows you regularly watch.
    Search. Updated search experience providing a simpler way to find content with results that appear directly beneath the search.
    Controls. Playback is simplified with clean and intuitive controls: press up or down to display the playback menu, or left or right to fast-forward or rewind.
    Hulu Kids. Brings Hulu Kids section to the living room, letting your family enjoy commercial-free children’s shows from your couch.
    Easy Access. Simple to sign up for Hulu Plus directly from within the app.

We’re excited to show you today’s new Hulu Plus experience as the latest development coming out of our talented team in our Seattle offices. This is all part of our ongoing commitment to innovating on behalf of our users – please let us know what you think of the new design.

Happy summer watching!

*Inclusive of 2012 and 2013 Samsung Smart TVs and select Blu-ray players.