Hulu has now officially launched a new ad feature that’s designed to reward binge-watchers. The idea is that the more Hulu you watch in a single sitting, the less ads you will see. In some cases, this will result in entire episodes being shown completely ad-free. Well, with the exception of a first (and last) ad prior to the start of the episode.
Hulu is now rewarding binge watchers with less ads. The company says it defines binge watching as watching three or more episodes in the same session. In other words, the third episode of a binge is likely to be when the viewer encounters an ad-free episode for the first time.
Technically, Hulu announced this feature earlier in the year although it is only now starting to roll out. This is also only one of the company’s latest ad-related measures. Like other streaming services, Hulu has been looking at different ways to offer ads while providing a less disruptive experience. The company’s ‘pause ads” is another example.
In addition to seeing less ads in general, Hulu is also looking to more closely match the ad experience with the viewer. This is presumably a way to keep advertisers happy with the less ads change as it means more relevant ads are served to more relevant viewers.
Hulu’s new binge ad experience is now live and the personalized adverts are how users will know the Hulu binge clock is ticking. Hulu says it uses machine learning coupled with viewing habits to predict that a binge session has started. This in turn, starts the use of personalized ads leading up to the ad-free experience.
Hulu not alone in playing with ads
Hulu is not the only company currently looking at more novel ways to deliver ads to streamers. AT&T is also highly invested in new ad formats and only recently confirmed it too was launching one of its solutions.
Similar to Hulu’s pause ads initiative, AT&T is also now starting to show ads when the user pauses a video. However, unlike Hulu’s solution, AT&T’s include both video and sound.
Essentially, 30 seconds after the user has paused a video, AT&T will start to play a video ad with sound. Hulu’s approach to pause ads is far less intrusive by comparison as it simply displays a banner ad on the pause screen.
Regardless of the differences, AT&T and Hulu are two major players in the streaming world and these adjustments to how ads are displayed are likely indicators of how ads will change in the future. Not just for AT&T and Hulu customers, but for streamers in general.