Home for the Huludays

2020 has caused many of us to revisit our typical behaviors. We’ve shifted from going to the gym to taking virtual yoga classes, said goodbye to our desk at the office and said hello to virtual meetings, and we’ve replaced our grocery store shopping with meal-kit delivery.

Given all this change and feelings of uncertainty, Hulu wondered if the upcoming holidays would also require a reassessment. We wanted to know: 

To answer these questions, we surveyed Hulu viewers to figure out how they plan to celebrate the upcoming holidays. Here’s a look at what we uncovered: 

The New Norm: Rethinking Holiday Traditions 

We’re all navigating through these unprecedented times and establishing a “new normal.” But while things may be different this year, Hulu viewers are still planning on making the most of the upcoming holidays. 

The holidays will look different, but Hulu viewers are still optimistic. 

Hulu viewers agree that they plan on making the most of the holidays despite the current situation (95%) and that the holidays will be a good distraction from what’s going on (81%). 

While the majority of viewers anticipate spending the holidays at home (75%), viewers will still celebrate by having small in-person gatherings with friends and family (61%) and plan on tuning into holiday shows and movies (59%). One viewer shared: 

Hulu viewers anticipate watching more content this holiday season. 

It’s no surprise that TV consumption has increased as people spend more time at home — and, this trend is expected to continue into the holiday season. The holidays and Hulu are a perfect pair, so it makes sense that we traditionally see an uptick in viewership during this time. We saw substantial year-over-year growth in content hours watched during the holidays between 2019 vs. 2018, including Thanksgiving Day (+41%), Christmas Day (+29%), and New Years Day (+29%). 

And viewing over the holidays shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, one in three Hulu viewers anticipate that they’ll be watching more Hulu during this holiday season vs. previous holidays.

Holiday viewing also serves as a restorative experience – as both a way to bond with friends/family, or to catch up on “me-time.” For those who are co-viewing during the holidays, they tend to watch with a partner/spouse or children. We’ve heard from viewers that watching TV during the holidays provides entertainment (83%), a way to de-stress (63%), a chance to wind down (61%), and something that they can look forward to (44%).

Out of an abundance of caution, Hulu viewers are still evaluating their travel options and are considering virtual gatherings.

For the most part, viewers do not think that travel is worth the risk during the upcoming holiday season. In fact, two in three Hulu viewers would rather save their money for when it is safe to travel again, even if it means waiting until next year. However, for those viewers who are weighing their holiday travel options, the most favored method of travel is by car versus other modes of transportation. “If I’m going to travel, I would only travel by car to a place that is away from others – like camping.”

For those who do not plan on gathering in-person, they’ll lean into virtual gatherings. One person shared that they’ll be “zooming with out of town family/friends rather than getting together.”

Holiday Shopping: Shifting Online and Supporting Local

Aside from planning their holiday celebrations, Hulu viewers are also thinking ahead to their holiday shopping and spending. Our viewers consider themselves to be “right-on-schedule shoppers” or “advance shoppers,” so holiday shopping is currently top of mind for them. 

Spend levels will remain consistent this holiday season, with viewers turning more to online shopping alternatives.

Over half of Hulu viewers anticipate that their holiday spending will remain the same as last year’s holidays. However, more of their shopping will shift online this holiday season as 49% of Hulu viewers plan to do their shopping exclusively online. For comparison purposes, only 25% shared that they did last year’s holiday shopping exclusively online. 

Some plan to order online and have items delivered to their home (83%), and others plan to order online and pick up in-store or curbside (30%). 

Many aim to support small and local businesses during the holidays.  

What better way to spread the holiday cheer than by shopping small and local? 46% of Hulu viewers shared that they plan to shop at small businesses or local stores to support their communities. Our viewers find that shopping at small businesses is more enjoyable and they have access to more unique/quality products.

Holiday Advertising: Getting Inspired and Taking Action

Hulu viewers are finding inspiration for holiday gift purchases from family, friends and advertisements. And they’re more likely to take action after seeing advertisements around the holidays. 

During this upcoming holiday season, Hulu viewers shared that free shipping (83%), convenience (66%), discounts (62%), and easy returns (52%) are all influences on their shopping decisions. Over ⅓ also shared that they consider contactless pickup options as an important factor in their upcoming holiday shopping. 

In summary 

  • The holidays will look different this year (i.e. less travel and more virtual gatherings), but Hulu viewers are still optimistic. 
  • Hulu viewers anticipate watching more Hulu content this holiday season. They will lean on TV viewing for entertainment and to decompress. 
  • The majority of Hulu viewers plan to maintain the same level of holiday spending as last year. However, shopping will shift more online. 
  • When it comes to holiday advertisements, Hulu viewers find inspiration from ads and they take action after seeing those ads.

Andy_69_C3100_HEP_9x15_648x1080px
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.

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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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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.

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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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