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The Streamable Search

Hulu Testing Ways to Incorporate Ads into Binge-Watching Sessions

Stephanie Sengwe

Hulu is yet another company trying to modify the way it showcases ads on its platform. According to Variety, the streaming service is currently testing new commercials aimed specifically at binge-watchers—viewers who watch three or more episodes of the same series back-to-back.

During the course of the three episodes, a specific ad in the last commercial break of each of the first two episodes will offer humorous commentary from Hulu and a specific marketer, and acknowledge that a binge session has begun. The advertiser will then offer subscribers a reward—they may propose making the next episode commercial-free or offer a promotion—just before the third episode.

“We are not stopping you from doing what you want to be doing,” stated Jeremy Helfand, vice president and head of advertising platforms at Hulu, in an interview. “You understand the brand is helping to bring you the content.”

Just yesterday, a report came saying AT&T’s Xandr ad-tech unit is testing the idea of “pause ads.” A “pause ad” is a commercial that would play for consumers only when they pause their shows. The pause ad — with full sound and motion — would start playing 30 seconds after a customer of the company’s video services calls for a pause.

In the past, Hulu has experimented with “pause ads,” posting static, translucent images over the inactive screens for advertisers like Coca-Cola or Procter & Gamble. However, Hulu’s “pause ads” appeared only to those subscribed to the ad-supported version of the streaming service. The new Xandr version, on the other hand, places “pause ads” onto traditional linear viewing of broadcast and cable networks.