Hulu Has Live (March Madness) Sports

Is your bracket busted? Did the clock strike midnight on your Cinderella story? Have you been hiding live game streams behind several excel sheets? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it can only mean one thing…March Madness is finally here!

At Hulu, we love live sports – and we know our viewers love live sports too. Hulu viewers tune into sports anytime, anywhere, and with the swipe of a finger. And while the sports viewing landscape is constantly evolving, we’ve uncovered a few interesting trends that will help marketers tap into this unique audience.

Hulu Viewers are the Real MVP(D)s

Whether it’s playing or watching, most Hulu viewers consider themselves sports fans. This segment continues to grow over time as well, as nearly 1 in 5 Hulu viewers say they are watching more sports now than in previous years. For advertisers looking to target based on interest, that’s a sizable and growing segment of consumers!

Traditionally, professional sports leagues generate more interest than their collegiate counterparts. But, when it comes to basketball viewership on Hulu, we see the NCAA reign supreme as more viewers say they watch college basketball than the NBA¹.

This difference is magnified during the month of March, where Hulu viewers are big fans of the “big dance”. When looking at the opening day of the tournament, we saw 5x as many active viewers, and nearly 4x as many minutes watched this year compared to 2018. The game that had the highest viewership during opening weekend was #1 Duke vs. #9 UCF, with the Blue Devils narrowly squeaking by with a 77-76 victory. Cue the madness!

Tournament Time in the Living Room

When it comes to device preference, viewers are partial to the big screen. 87% of viewers indicate that they primarily watch sports on their TV/Smart TV; which is significantly higher than any other device¹. Watching on TV also allows for a more enjoyable co-viewing experience, and sport fans are some of the best at throwing a watch party. “[When I’m watching sports] I’m at home or at a friend’s house with food so it’s like a gathering that happens with family and friends around the big screen.”

Nothing Gets in the Way of March Madness…Not Even Work

As you walk through the office this week, you may notice an abundance of headphones, as well as an abnormal amount of meeting declines. Well…you can blame the NCAA tournament for that.

In a recent survey of Hulu viewers, half of respondents admit to watching March Madness games while on the clock. More than 40% say they try and watch as many games as possible, and 10% have even missed work to watch their teams play¹. Talk about some dedicated fans! One fan shared: “I stream games on my computer at work…I [also] love to watch with friends and we set up our devices so we can have all the games running together and watch whichever one is the most interesting.”

So whether you’re at home or at work; streaming on your phone and cheering from your living room, one thing is for certain – once the calendar turns to March, madness is right around the corner for Hulu viewers!²

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  • No symbols such as registered marks, copyrights, etc.
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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.

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.


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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.

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

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