Today at the Hulu Upfront

Today at the Hulu Upfront in New York City, joined by Peter Naylor, SVP of Sales, Craig Erwich, SVP Head of Content, and many of our talented stars and creators from Hulu Originals and top shows exclusive to Hulu and Hulu Plus, we presented new developments in original programming, content, technology and advertising innovation in front of an audience of over 1,700 advertisers.

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Cecily Strong of “SNL” and “The Awesomes,” Mindy Kaling of “The Mindy Project,” Seth Meyers and Mike Shoemaker of “The Awesomes,” Tyler Labine and the cast of “Deadbeat,” Chris O’Dowd of “Moone Boy,” Gillian Jacobs and Danny Pudi of “Community,” and “The Hotwives of Orlando” cast, among other special guests, were featured presenters. 

It’s an exciting time to be in our business, and we are happy to share our latest company growth with you today.

Hulu Plus

Today I’m thrilled to share that Hulu Plus has surpassed 6 million subscribers.

We’re pleased to see so many millions of viewers turning to Hulu Plus daily, thanks largely to our unrivaled breadth and depth of content, including exclusive access to some of the biggest broadcast and cable shows, and Hulu Originals.

Content

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Today, we’re happy to announce that we have ordered a second season of “Deadbeat,” which has become one of the most watched shows on the service in its first few weeks since airing. Additionally, we’ve set premiere dates for second season returns of “The Awesomes,” “Quick Draw” and “East Los High.”

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Last week, international Emmy Award-winning Chris O’Dowd comedy “Moone Boy” returned to great acclaim for its second season. “Doozers,” our first Hulu Original for Hulu Kids, debuted and is setting the pace among the most popular shows on the kids hub with its first seven episodes. Meanwhile, acclaimed sports mascot docu-series “Behind the Mask” is up for the Sports Emmy next week, which garnered Hulu its first Emmy nomination for a Hulu Original. On May 28, internationally beloved teen dance drama “The Next Step” debuts in the U.S. just before the highly-anticipated return of breakthrough teen drama “East Los High.” And as things heat up in July, there will be much more drama and laughs with the debut of reality TV satire “Hotwives of Orlando.” 

It’s not enough for us to simply invest in acquiring and producing great shows…we want to make sure viewers know where to find them – only on Hulu and Hulu Plus. To that end, over the next year, we will more than triple our content marketing spend to grow awareness for, and interest in, Hulu Originals.

Advertising

Our goal is to continue to lead the online video advertising market. Our viewers are highly engaged. On desktop alone they spend an average of nearly 50 minutes per session on Hulu and they stay on Hulu for longer stretches than any other ad-supported premium video site in comScore’s top 100.

Since 2008, more than 1,650 advertisers have leveraged the Hulu service, and we have delighted in helping these advertisers reach their desired audience, all the while innovating in our ad formats to give our users more choice, more control, and more convenience.

  • Instream Purchase Unit:
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    We continue to lead the industry in ad innovations, and we’re pleased to share three new ad experiences with you today:We will be rolling out the first ever “In-Stream Purchase Unit” later this year with Pizza Hut as our launch partner. The unit will enable consumers to make an order for pick-up or delivery without ever leaving the Hulu environment. With our effective targeting capabilities, this new innovation allows advertisers to target the right demographic, at the right time – all while allowing viewers to immediately pick up where they left off once their order is placed.
  • Cross Platform Interactive ads:
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    Part of our promise to innovate on behalf of the advertising industry, is by making our interactive ad experiences available across every platform, including living room and mobile devices. Our ad algorithm predicts the appropriate audience for the brand, and serves an interactive ad that’s optimized for their device. The evolution of our interactive ads will launch later this summer in partnership with Corona Extra across mobile devices.
  • Hulu 360 Ad:
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    With the growth in mobile viewership, we’re working to deliver new innovations across mobile platforms. We know which device a viewer is on, and we go beyond the traditional video ad to serve a groundbreaking viewing experience. This experience is powered by technology from leading 360 design company, Immersive Media.

Additionally, as of today, Hulu is the first digital company to receive multi-platform measurement at an individual viewer level that includes co-viewership for living room devices. This is made possible through our partnership with leading measurement company, comScore.

Distribution

Across the TV industry, we’re seeing greater access to all types of content, and more ways for you, our loyal TV fans, to forge deeper connections with your favorite shows. As the way viewers consume premium TV continues to rapidly evolve, we want to evolve to be able to offer more content on even more platforms. 

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That is why this summer, we will begin delivering a selection of ad-supported full TV episodes on mobile devices– for free. (Until now, viewers have been able to access Hulu’s free service only on the desktop). With our re-imagining of mobile viewing, we want you, our viewers, to have more access to the content you love, right at your fingertips. Additionally, later this summer, we will be launching the next generation of the Hulu Plus iPhone app.

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Hulu Plus is now accessible on more than 400 million internet-connected devices in the United States, including Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Chromecast, and most recently, Amazon’s new set-top box, Amazon Fire TV. After redesigning our living room devices such as Roku and Wii-U, we saw average-minutes-viewed increase by over 30%. And out of our tens of millions of viewers, there are 3000 unique ways Hulu viewers access content on Hulu and Hulu Plus (for example, I watch on my iPad and Apple TV). 

Thank you to our valued advertisers, content partners, and to our viewers for your commitment to making Hulu and Hulu Plus part of your daily lives. It’s our pleasure to continue to serve you up the very best TV content, coupled with the best user experience, to continue to make Hulu and Hulu Plus the premier destination for premium content on any device, at anytime, anywhere. 

– Mike Hopkins and the Hulu team

 

 

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Andy-Goldberg
ANDY GOLDBERG
SVP, Global Brand Planning & Content
American Express
The first ad I remember:
Fruit Loops with Toucan Sam
My favorite TV show of all time:
Impossible to name just one but Friday Night Lights is on the all-time list.
I’m here to:
Connect with others on the potential of streaming … how things are changing so rapidly and how brands can be at the forefront of amazing content.

Q: What does native frame rate mean?

A: Native frame rate refers to the frame rate the source footage was shot. Whenever possible, we require all videos to be delivered in their native frame rate. This means that no frame rate conversion should be performed, which includes adding 3:2 pulldown for broadcast.

Stress mark should be marked with [capitals] to indicate the primary stressed syllable, as in: news・pa・per [NOOZ-pey-per] in・for・ma・tion [in-fer-MEY-shuhn]

On living room, mobile, and tablet devices, the color gradient overlay is dynamic and will change based on the cover story art. It is not something we can control on our end.

If the tagline/date messaging doesn’t fit within the 11 syllables max, it can be included as text.

On living room, mobile, and tablet devices, the color gradient overlay is dynamic and will change based on the cover story art. It is not something we can control on our end.

  • No symbols such as registered marks, copyrights, etc.
  • If symbols are required, they will be presented in standard text such as" Brand (TM)".

Q: When is letterboxing allowed and not allowed?

A: When the native aspect ratio is 1.78:1 or 1.33:1 throughout the entire program, there should not be any letterboxing (black bars on top and bottom), nor should there be any pillarboxing (black bars on either side). We should should see an active picture take up the full frame. If the aspect ratio is wider than 1.78:1, such as 2.35:1, matting on the top and bottom is permissible. Additionally, if there is a creative choice to add matting or if there is a mix of native aspect ratios, this is usually waived, but please reach out to your Hulu representative to confirm.

Q: Should the bitrate be constant if delivering ProRes codec?
A: No, since ProRes codec is built to be variable, this is waived.

Q: Can you accept bitrate higher than 30 Mbps?
A: Yes, we can accept bitrate beyond the recommended range for H.264 and ProRes. In the case of ProRes, bitrate will often exceed 30 Mbps due to its variable setting.

Q: Why do you ask for progressive?

A: The Hulu player, unlike traditional broadcast, does not play back interlace scan, so we require that all videos be delivered with their scan type set to progressive. If your video is natively interlaced, you must de-interlace it to progressive and you must employ a de-interlace filter that does not result in blending or ghosting artifacts. We recommend an auto-adaptive de-interlace if available.

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Alex-Lopez
ALEX LOPEZ
Head of Global Brand Communications & Narrative
Nike
The first ad I remember:
Mike & Spike (Air Jordan)
My favorite TV show of all time:
Sports, The Simpsons, The Sopranos, or anything else that starts with “S”.
I’m here to:
Get inspired, build some knowledge, and have some laughs along the way.

Q: Why do you prefer PCM codec?

A: PCM codec is lossless audio quality, so whenever possible, please deliver PCM audio.

Play Video

Q&A With
Gadi Amit

Founder, New Deal Design

Gadi: The development of serendipity in recommendations is very important. An analogy I use is that of a restaurant. If you go to a good restaurant, you don’t always want to see what you’re looking for. You’re looking for surprises. It’s not the expected, it’s the unexpected. You trust in the restaurant’s atmosphere. You don’t know exactly what you’re getting, but you trust their creativity and that you’ll enjoy whatever they serve you.

Do you think it is possible for a streaming service to become that “restaurant” - a trusted source of serendipitous recommendations?

Gadi: I absolutely do. But it is difficult. It’s a long game. It requires them to build trustworthiness with audiences through genuine content recommendations over the years.

Q&A With
Gandi Amit

Found New Deal Design

Gandi: The development of serendipity in recommendations is very important. An analogy I use is that of a restaurant. If you go to a good restaurant, you don’t always want to see what you’re looking for. You’re looking for surprises. It’s not the expected, it’s the unexpected. You trust in the restaurant’s atmosphere. You don’t know exactly what you’re getting, but you trust their creativity and that you’ll enjoy whatever they serve you.

Do you think it is possible for a streaming service to become that “restaurant” -- a trusted source of serendipitous recommendations?

Gandi: I absolutely do. But it is difficult. It’s a long game. It requires them to build trustworthiness with audiences through genuine content recommendations over the years.

Q&A With
Jonathan Miranda

Emerging Strategy Principal, Salesforce

Another expectation among younger generations seems to be personalization. How are you seeing this play out in media?

Jonathan: If you go into the world of advertising and marketing, customized, personalized advertising is more important than ever before. There’s a realization that eight years of funny commercials that we’ve showed everybody probably for the fourth time, doesn’t work anymore. So there’s a lot of companies moving towards specialized advertising.

How does this type of personalization translate to personalizing content beyond advertising? Who’s going to predict what people will want to watch, and do it first?

Jonathan: It’s not about being the first to predict what people want to watch. It's different. It’s about getting viewers to browse. You want to show them the value of all of the money Hulu has spent and the great range of TV and film for them to choose from.

Q&A With
Julie DeTragila

Head of Research & Insights, Hulu

Julie: There are vast differences between the way under 35-year-olds watch TV and over 35-year-olds watch TV. I grew up in a world where there were maybe 10 channels, and my viewing changed as technology and options changed. Younger viewers started from a really different place. Everything has always been on-demand. Anything they ever wanted to see was available to them, and they therefore have different expectations for TV.

How so?

Julie: One of the things we found with Gen Z is that they really want to be immersed in something for a long time. They want to have content that they can live with for a while; it’s like this long, seamless storytelling. They’ll knock off a couple episodes a night and it will last a couple of months. And then they’ll re-watch it a million times over.

What other shifts have you seen happen-with Gen Z but also more broadly-with the rise of streaming?

Julie: For years, television had to deliver a specific rating. Shows had to appeal broadly or else they wouldn’t survive. And those days are long gone because, with streaming services, shows can reach hundreds of thousands of people or tens of thousands of people and still be considered successful. There’s more experimentation with the types of content; we’re not locked into an hour, a half hour, a comedy, etc. The industry can create really niche shows to appeal to niche audiences, but also simultaneously create big, broad experiences that are shared by millions.

Q&A With
Larissa May

Founder, #HalftheStory

Your work focuses a lot on Gen Zs who, for better or worse, are dubbed “digital natives.” How do you think a generation of digitally native audiences view digital content differently than older generations?

Larissa: I think for young people digital content is a way they’re able to explore their own identities through the story... They want to see themselves and their stories in the content that they’re engaging with.

Tell us a little more about this digital content as Gen Z’s form of self-reflection.

Larissa: Digital content is sort of like a currency. I find that young people want to watch things that their friends are watching so that they can have conversations about it. For example, with Euphoria, young people were just kind of in love with the characters. It was very timely and a bit provocative, and then there was a way that they could see themselves in these stories and connect with their friends about the topics and ideas in the show.

And then also they could almost embody these characters in their own life. I really do think that the TV shows that young people are buying into are actually influencing their culture and their trends and even their language that they’re using.

Q&A With
Richard Frankel​

Global Creative Director, Spotify

What does the future of personalization look like?

Richard: I think it’s all down to trust. We're going to see more opportunity on platforms like Hulu and Spotify where the user trusts us.

That’s really interesting. Another area we wanted to explore is podcasts, and their relationship to video. For example, the show Homecoming is an adaptation of a podcast; the podcast Office Ladies is a spin-off from a TV show. Why do you think the two formats work so well together?

Richard: Anything at all that drives conversation in pop culture, and TV does a lot of that, is worthy of consideration in a podcast environment. Any of these conversations can become multiple audio streams that evolve with experts, interviews, and all kinds of narrative threads that can flesh out characters, or narrative development, or whatever's happening in those shows.

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