on by in Advertising, Announcements

For anyone who has anything to do with the TV business, spring means just one thing: Upfronts. Today during the Hulu Upfront, we shared the latest about the Hulu business—including growth metrics, new product innovation and upcoming content—with many of our advertising customers.

Overall, Hulu continues to grow very quickly. In Q1 of this year, we set new records for revenue, and for the first time ever, Hulu viewers streamed more than 1 billion content videos in a single quarter.

Hulu Plus
Subscriptions to Hulu Plus, our ad-supported subscription service, doubled in 2012. Hulu Plus continues to grow at an extremely fast rate; in Q1 2013, Hulu Plus surpassed 4 million subscribers—setting new records for subscriber additions. Our subscribers to date (we exited private beta and officially launched in November 2010):

Mobile viewing is growing at a significant rate and will account for approximately 15% of Hulu’s consumed videos in 2013-2014. For context, mobile viewing was nonexistent on our service only two years ago. Living room viewing is also growing; it currently accounts for 29% of Hulu’s content consumption, and 80% of Hulu Plus subscribers have watched with someone else.

Advertising
Our advertising mission is to be the world’s most effective video advertising service, and we are well on our way. According to comScore, Hulu is #1 in engagement among top ad supported sites. Hulu viewers stay with us for 45 minutes per session—without fast-forwarding or skipping ads. Hulu is also #1 in market share of all premium online video providers, delivering 1 in 3 of all premium video ads in the U.S. Our reasonable ad load drives the highest recall and awareness for brands, which results in higher effectiveness for the video ads.

Content
We are so excited about the momentum and growth Hulu has experienced in bringing new, first run television franchises to our audiences. During the Upfront, we announced two new shows coming exclusively to Hulu:

From writer/director Nancy Hower and writer/star John Lehr, “Quick Draw” is a comedic half-hour western set in 1875 that centers on a Harvard-educated sheriff and his quest to introduce the emerging science of forensics to an unruly Kansas town. Though the citizens of Great Bend, Kansas are generally unimpressed with Sheriff Hoyle’s (Lehr) educational pedigree, they come to appreciate his sharp mind and sharper shooting as he and his reluctant Deputy Eli (Nick Brown) hunt down robbers,murderers, and the dangerous riff-raff that have plagued the town for years. The series is co-created and executive produced by Nancy Hower and John Lehr (“10 Items or Less,” “Jailbait”) and co-executive produced by Keith Raskin (“Key & Peele,” “The League”). “Quick Draw” is coming to Hulu and Hulu Plus in the Summer of 2013, and you can watch a trailer here now: http://www.hulu.com/quick-draw

“East Los High” is not your typical high school.  Dance, sex, romance and mystery are at the heart of thisinner city school in East L.A. where two teenage cousins, Jessie, a 16-year-old virgin, and Maya, a troubled runaway with a violent past, fall in love with Jacob, a popular football player.  With this forbidden love triangle, Maya, Jessie and Jacob, along with their close friends, must face true-to-life decisions throughout a turbulent year that will mark their lives forever. A Hulu Exclusive Series, “East Los High” features an all Latino cast, director, writers and creators—many hailing from East L.A. More than 15 leading public health organizations such as Advocates for Youth, Voto Latino, California Family Health Council and Legacy LA, among others, advised on the scripts and content to address teen issues related to relationships and sexuality in a meaningful way. “East Los High” is the first English-language drama series made for this under served audience.

“Quick Draw” and “East Los High” join the nine other Hulu Original Series and Hulu Exclusive Series that will be premiering as part of Hulu’s Summer Slate 2013, including “The Awesomes,” “Behind the Mask,” “The Wrong Mans,” “Mother Up!,” “Pramface” (season two) “Prisoners of War” (season two), “The Only Way is Essex” (season four), “Braquo” (season two), and “Moone Boy.”

Lastly, we are proud to offer new daily, half hour episodes of two of the longest running, storied, and respected TV franchises: “All My Children” and “One Life To Live.” Both premiered on Hulu and Hulu Plus yesterday.

The entire Hulu team is incredible grateful for the opportunity to build and innovate on behalf of our customers each and every day. Thank you for your belief in us as we continue to build a world-class company.

-Andy

on by in Advertising, Announcements

At Hulu’s development center in Seattle, we spend our time focusing on making the Hulu Plus living room experience delightful for our subscribers. We’ve redesigned the Hulu Plus experience from the ground up – making it even easier to find your favorite current season TV episodes and discover a new favorite show.

Right away, you’ll notice we’ve added content categories across the top navigation bar to make it easy to for you to jump to your chosen section – whether it is TV, Kids, Latino, Search, or something else. Inside each category, you’ll discover what’s new in our content library so it’s easy to discover new shows and keep up with the shows you already love. You can also jump into your favorite shows right away with the “Shows You Watch” tray. We built this to make sure you never miss a new episode or lose your place in a series.

When redesigning the experience, we looked for ways to grant you instant access to exactly what you want to watch. Once you decide on the show you want to watch, simply press the “Play” button and the latest episode of the series will automatically start playing.

While your favorite episode or clip is playing, hold down the “Select” button until Subtitles and Audio appears to turn on captions.

You have to be running the latest firmware to get this new experience and captions. If you are unsure, go to “Settings” on the Apple TV home screen and under “General” choose “Update Software.”

To start watching Hulu Plus shows instantly, find “Hulu Plus” on the Apple TV home screen. If you are a Hulu Plus subscriber, simply enter your username and password to start streaming last night’s episode of Modern Family from the biggest screen in the house.

If you do not have a Hulu Plus account, you can easily sign-up two ways:

1. Go to www.huluplus.com/appletv and register online.  Launch Hulu Plus on your Apple TV, log in with your new credentials and start streaming.

2.  Create a Hulu Plus account directly through Apple TV by using your existing iTunes account and following the sign up instructions on the screen.  If you sign up for Hulu Plus through Apple TV, you will be emailed instructions on how to complete your registration so you can use Hulu Plus on all other supported devices.  After your free 1-week trial ends, your iTunes Account will be charged $7.99 per month as a recurring transaction.

For those of you who are new to the service, Hulu Plus is the only online premium video subscription that streams current and classic TV programming on demand from hundreds of content partners, including top broadcast networks ABC, NBC, FOX, The CW and Univision. Hulu Plus subscribers can watch on any enabled devices for $7.99/month with limited advertising. For many popular shows on our service, Hulu Plus offers every episode of the current season. Hulu Plus subscribers also have access to back seasons and full runs of some of TV’s greatest shows, including many that were not available online before, in HD whenever possible.

I hope you are as excited as we are about this updated experience. Let us know what you think!

on by in Advertising

 Earlier today, I sent the below email to the Hulu team:

Team -

As you all know, I will be departing Hulu at the end of this quarter. I wanted to share the news that Andy Forssell will be stepping up to lead Hulu as acting CEO after I depart later this month.  You know Andy well; he’s been a critical senior executive and has been here from the start of this great adventure. Andy exemplifies the Hulu culture and has been central to Hulu’s journey, helping to grow this company from 2 content partners and no revenue to over 450 content partners and approximately $700 million revenue in 2012. In his role, Andy has built strong relationships with many of our Board members. Andy has the Board’s strong support in leading the team during this important time.

Disney and News Corporation are currently finalizing their forward-looking plans with Hulu, and the senior team has been working closely with them in that process. Once the plans are finalized, a permanent decision will be made regarding the CEO position.

As I mentioned to you all at the beginning of this year, Hulu’s focus remains on delivering a fantastic 2013 for customers and shareholders. Hulu is well on its way, with new records being set in Q1 across both revenue and subscriber additions.  The unwavering focus on delighting Hulu’s customers is clearly showing up in the outputs of the business.

Jason

 

on by in Advertising

Last night’s game was a nail biter, for both football fans and for the advertisers.

At the beginning of the second half, things were looking grim. At 28-6, the game was looking like a blowout (never great for second-half advertisers) when a bizarre blackout threw the Mercedes-Benz Superdome into darkness. If you’re an advertiser waging as much as $4 million for 30 seconds of air time in the second half, the last thing you want is a lopsided game, much less a delay that might cause people to give up, change the channel or go to bed.

So you could almost hear an audible sigh of relief among advertisers when the power came back on and it ignited an improbable 49ers comeback that tied fans to their seats until almost until the very last play. More people watching the game means more people watching the ads, and while the extended break wasn’t ideal, it did mean some Super Bowl advertisers like Audi, Oreos, Tide and Volkswagen could cleverly use the gap to their advantage. And in fact, early Nielsen estimates indicate this year’s game was the most-watched Super Bowl ever.

Advertising Age has been reviewing Super Bowl ads for decades, long before the ads themselves were considered as much a part of the entertainment experience as the game itself. This year, Ad in-house critic Ken Wheaton found a lot to like. Among our faves? Budweiser’s “Brotherhood” brought the Clydesdales and some emotion, back to the Super Bowl. Samsung’s “The Big Pitch,” with Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen and a cameo from LeBron James solidified the company as the top marketer in tech. Ram Trucks’ homage to the farmer was epic in length for a Super Bowl ad and a worthy follow up to its “Imported From Detroit” ad last year.

 

 

 

Catch up on the ads you missed here at Hulu, or if you really want to nerd out on the advertising, and the strategy behind it, visit us at AdAge.com or follow us on Twitter at @adage.

Happy watching.

 

on by in Advertising, News

Tonight, as football fans gorged on pizza and beer, Superbowl commercial fans gorged on ads, and Hulu was there to serve a heaping helping of this year’s “big game” ads in the Hulu’s Toyota AdZone. As the confetti settles in New Orleans, and junk food settles in our stomachs, let’s take a look at this evening’s most liked ads.

Wild Card: Cars.com: Wolf

A car-buying couple misses the drama they used to have before discovering Cars.com. So their salesman puts them between a wolf cub and its snarling mother. Baby animal trend officially established for 2013.

Wild card: Hyundai: Stuck
A clever ad about how I feel very day on every single road there is.

What? I live in Los Angeles.

Wild Card: NFL: Sandcastle
Just hilarious.

15: Oreo: Whisper Fight
A cowboy-style bar fight breaks out in a library, and everybody whispers. What’s the fighting all about? Whether the cream or the cookie is the best part of the Oreo. We say the cookie. Or do we?

14: Dorito’s: Fashionista Daddy
There were two Dorito’s ads in AdZone, and this one got the most Likes. While not as entertaining, original, funny, or as inventive as the “Goat 4 Sale” ad, this one does have men in women’s clothing. So it’s got that going for it.

13: Grande Papi
This is exactly how I feel when I go out with my 4 month-old son strapped to my chest. We look so awesome. I stalk through the grocery aisles, feeling like a member of some kind of baby SWAT team, with my adorable kid and all my gear. Taco Bell captured the essence of proud daddyhood in this ad, and Hulu viewers rewarded that effort with Likes.

12: Kia: Space Babies
A fantastical super-bowl style ad that has nothing to do with the Kia Sorrento. Beautiful to look at, and babies.
Downside: voice-activated service requires driver to call out its unwieldy name: “Uvo”.
Upside: Baby animal trend perpetuated.

11: Audi: Prom
Dad’s Audi inspires courage in a lonely teenage boy. In this spot, Audi makes being a loner look cool and daring.
The awesome shot of the Audi’s illuminating headlamps as the engine growls to life is now a familiar staple of the Audi Super Bowl ad.

10: Milk: The Rock in Morning Run
An entirely awesome ad, and my personal favorite of 2013. To me, this is a pitch-perfect over-the-top Super Bowl ad. Tons of action and hyperbole, and the product is still front and center.

9: Jeep: America Will Be Whole Again
Continuing their “patriotic” theme from last year (minus the crumbly spokesman), Chrysler hit us with a heavy 2 minute spot about our heroes returning home. Viewers across America responded positively.

8: Skechers GORun 2: Cheetah
A running shoe commercial where a man outruns a cheetah. Nothing groundbreaking (we had a cheetah ad last year), but we all got a kick out of seeing the runner exchange a fist bump with the gazelle at the end.

7: GoDaddy: Perfect Match
A big hit with our software developers (all of whom are more attractive than “Walter”), this ad featured Israeli model Bar Refaeli smooching a nerdy guy… for a long time. Popular (I assume) for shock value, this ad lip-smacked its way into our top 10.

6: World War Z: Big Game Spot
A 30-second condensed version of the trailer, this ad opened World War Z to an audience who may not be familiar with the acclaimed zombie novel. Fans of the zombie genre have been hungry for this one, and this spot whet their appetites even further.

5: Fast & Furious 6 (Fast 6): Trailer
The ad that made me laugh the most this year was oddly enough, not supposed to. This short teaser for the sixth installment of the franchise following a group of street-racing thieves (who apparently become superhuman) grabbed a lot of attention in this year’s AdZone.

4: Budweiser: Brotherhood
So, I cried at a beer commercial tonight. That happened. Every year Anheuser-Busch airs an ad featuring the Budweiser Clydesdales, and quite frankly I’ve always found them to be on the boring side. These are just horses, where’s the beer? But this year, I was moved by the story of a young man raising a Clydesdale, only to send the horse far away to be a part of the famous Budweiser team. Their reunion at the end brought a tear to my eye, and I suspect, to many others. A sentimental ad from Bud comes in at number 4.

3: Volkswagen: Get In. Get Happy.
The always-upbeat tall white guy in the office, made more emphatic by his Jamaican accent, brought laughs to everyone at my Superbowl party. In advertising, happiness is a pretty good thing to sell, and Volkswagen nailed it. They didn’t try to play on the success of last year’s ad, they just went for it. Hulu viewers responded by giving it the 3rd most Likes in this year’s AdZone.

2: Taco Bell: Viva Young
Hauling out an old chestnut of a concept that worked well for Six Flags, Boost Mobile, the movie Cocoon, and the Jackass series, Taco Bell hit a home run with a group of senior citizens partying into the night.

1: Ram Trucks: Farmer
In a two-minute stunner, Dodge changed everything we’ve come to expect from a Super Bowl ad. No music, no explosions, no famous actors, just a somber monologue from radio legend Paul Harvey, accompanied by striking gritty visuals of farmers at work. Dodge extended a hand of respect to its customers with this ad, with its carefully metered pace and honest tone. Resonating with viewers across America, this unique spot grabbed our attention, and the number one slot in this year’s AdZone.