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1.4 | last updated September 6, 2018
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This document is intended for advertisers. It provides a summary of the video-streaming measurement processes employed by Hulu, LLC (Hulu). It includes a general description of Hulu’s measurement methodology, filtration processes and reporting procedures. Issuance of this document is in accordance with Hulu’s accreditation conferred by the Media Rating Council (MRC).
Hulu provides an Ad-supported streaming digital video service that offers a selection of TV shows, clips and movies via its video players at hulu.com, embedded Hulu video players hosted at other internet sites, mobile devices via the Hulu mobile application and over-the-top (OTT) internet-connected devices via device-specific Hulu applications. Users of Hulu’s digital video service may elect to view content on hulu.com and through external sites such as yahoo.com. To view Hulu content on web, or any Mobile or OTT internet-connected device, Hulu users must subscribe to the Hulu service. Video Ads are served within the Hulu player at pre- and mid-roll positions. Companion display Ads may also be shown within these placements, or adjacent to the player, in close proximity. Hulu partners with Content Providers (CPs) and distributors to provide digital video content to users. Hulu also produces certain original video content available through its streaming video service. Regardless of the origin of the content, Hulu maintains control of its streaming digital video players and content pipelines, and encodes all video content and advertisements prior to distribution within Hulu’s proprietary video players on Web and within Hulu applications. Access to Hulu content is limited to users within the United States, including US territories and military bases overseas, based on IP-address geolocation as determined by a third-party vendor; other regions are blocked. In most situations, Hulu’s first-party Ad server performs Ad decisioning. However, Hulu also supports third-party Ad serving in certain situations involving pre-established relationships with specified content providers.
The following Hulu metrics are included in MRC-accreditation scope, on the Web, Mobile Web, and Mobile In-App platforms:
The following Hulu reports are included in MRC-accreditation scope:
The following items are excluded from MRC-accreditation scope:
All Hulu beacons originate directly from the client. No server-side beacons are used. No proxies are intentionally used.
Hulu does not use sampling. Measurements are counted directly from client-initiated beacons, after filtration processes mentioned below.
Clients send Impressions and Completions to geographically-dispersed CDNs provided by Akamai. Akamai’s CDNs then forward these beacons to Hulu’s measurement servers.
Client initiate Impressions and Completions by firing a beacon via HTTP GET request. The measurement server returns a 200 to indicate successful reception of the beacon, and writes a line in its log file to record the Impression or Completion. The above is true of Impressions and Completions for all video, rich-media, and display Ads.
Network latency may result in beacons not arriving at the server around the moment an Impression or Completion occurs, but rather at some point afterward. If this is case, the Impression or Completion is counted upon receipt. Network issues may also cause beacons being duplicated somewhere along the way (e.g., by a third-party proxy server) between Hulu’s client and server. Hulu addresses this risk in two ways. First, by never performing beacon retries on any accreditation platform (i.e., Web, Mobile Web, or Mobile In-App). Second, by performing beacon de-duplication on the server side.
Hulu does not compound or grouped beacons. Measurements are counted directly from client-initiated beacons one at a time.
Hulu uses a combination of beacon parameters, including a client-generated auto-incrementing “seq” (i.e., sequence) value, to create uniqueness of Impressions and Completions. Also, in the 200 response to Impression and Completion beacons, the server uses the following Header Controls: Cache-Control: max-age=0, no-cache, no-store; Expires; Pragma: no-cache. These values instruct the client to not cache the GET request, and always fire a new instance of the beacon.
Hulu does not engage in auto-play of Video or Interactive Ads. Playback is never initiated without an explicit user action (i.e., click or tap). Hulu engages in Continuous Play, which is automatic advancement to a new piece of Content after an existing piece of Content comes to an end. Hulu uses a threshold to determine when to show an “Are you still watching?” confirmation. After four hours of continuous play without user interaction, the dialog is presented, and if no confirmation (i.e.,‘Yes’) is received from the viewer, further playback is stopped. Based on a preliminary study, ~18% of Impressions on Web was generated by sessions that included 1+ hour inactivity. ~1% of Impressions on Mobile In-App was generated by sessions that included 1+ hour of inactivity. Hulu is developing and conducting improved studies on viewer inactivity in order to update its continuous-play functionality.
Impression and Completion beacons received from Akamai are immediately written into log files. The log files contain raw beacon data. They undergo processing before they can be consumed by reporting mechanisms. Daily processing allows Hulu’s reports to include the previous day’s data, but not the current day’s.
Hulu’s Mobile application is available to all mobile devices on the platforms mentioned below in the same geographical region as its Web and Living Room offerings. Namely, the U.S. and its territories.
Hulu’s Mobile application runs on iOS and Android.
The use of Hulu’s Mobile application is possible only when the user has proactively downloaded and installed the application. Ad delivery and measurement techniques across application versions have not changed meaningfully in the past several years.
The use of Hulu’s Mobile application occurs only when the user has proactively opened and initialized the application after downloading and installing it. Multiple versions of the same application cannot coexist.
The use of Hulu’s Mobile application occurs only when the application is in focus. Playback automatically stops when the application loses focus. This means that no Impression or Completion beacons can be fired while the application is background’ed. Furthermore, during situations when the device goes offline, playback will stop due to the application’s video buffer emptying. At this point, no Impression or Completion beacons can be fired as playback of both content and ads is halted.
While generally no latency issues are particular to OTT devices, there is one exception in that Roku devices have been noted to experience network issues. Further detail is provided in the SSL section below.
Roku devices have been noted to experience network issues. On these devices, it has been observed that having a large queue of beacons to be fired can sometimes result in some queued beacons simply not firing and eventually being discarded inappropriately. Also high volumes of network activity create latency issues and generally slow processing that are particular to these devices. As a result, as of September 2018, SSL protocol is not available on Roku devices.
Hulu uses a threshold to determine when to show an “Are you still watching?” confirmation. After three hours of Continuous Play without user interaction, the dialog is presented, and if no confirmation (i.e., ‘Yes’) is received from the viewer, further playback is stopped. Studies are performed on an annual basis, to understand viewer patterns and inform decisions on whether adjustments to improve experience are necessary. Continuous Play is used more frequently on OTT, as compared to Web and Mobile. As a result, Hulu’s studies on Continuous Play are conducted on a subset of OTT devices.
Detection of TV-off state, and accordingly pausing playback, is entirely dependent on the capabilities of hardware. Where detection is possible, Hulu apps pause playback. However, there is a population of devices that do not communicate the change of hardware state to higher levels in the tech stack. In these cases, Hulu apps are unable pause playback, although Continuous Play thresholds apply as normal. Hulu has conducted research to gain a general understanding of the aforementioned hardware capabilities and limitations. A study was performed on a broad sample of devices running Hulu’s OTT app. This sample included devices from manufacturers Amazon, Apple, Google, LG, Microsoft, Panasonic, Roku, Samsung, Sony, Tivo, and Vizio. These devices running Hulu were paired with a variety of TVs from manufacturers that included LG, Panasonic, Phillips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, and Vizio. The study was also ran with and without an AV receiver between the Hulu device and the TV.
A summary of study results is as follows:
In conclusion, there are many permutations of hardware, settings, and use cases to consider. Improving detection of TV-off is a complex industry issue that will require consistent commitment from TV manufacturers.
Please see the Continuous Play section above.
The methodology for measuring clicks is identical to that of Impression and Completion measurement. A client-side beacon is fired whenever the user performs a click action within Hulu’s application. On the server side, this beacon is logged and undergoes processing, eventually being included in reporting.
Hulu employs a suite of techniques in an attempt to identify and filter invalid activity. These techniques include but are not limited to known and suspected non-human activity and suspected invalid human activity. Because user identification and intent cannot always be known or discerned by the publisher, advertiser or their respective agents, it is unlikely that all invalid activity can be identified and excluded from report results. Below, Hulu’s various techniques are summarized strictly at a high-level for security purposes.
Hulu practices GIVT. Sophisticated Invalid-Traffic Filtration (SIVT) is not performed.
Hulu performs its own filtration without the assistance of any third parties.
Hulu removes all internally-generated traffic.
Based on User Agent, Hulu performs the IAB dual-pass method to remove all traffic that doesn’t appear on the international lists of spiders and bots, and valid browsers.
Hulu employs ABF to identify anomalies. The specifics of its ABF techniques are kept confidential for security purposes. They are disclosed only to MRC auditors as part of the audit process.
Hulu does not employ any pre-fetching mechanisms. Impression and Completion beacons are fired in real time. This also applies to ads shown as a result of Continuous Play.
Filtration is applied against Hulu’s entire traffic across the Web, Mobile Web, and Mobile In-App platforms. No subsets or sampling techniques are used.
When Impression and Completion beacons are received by the server, they undergo validation to ensure critical parameters aren’t missing. They are also evaluated to see whether parameter values are contradictory. Any beacons that fail either type of validation are discarded ahead of any further processing. In the unlikely event Hulu’s log files are corrupted, Akamai is capable of resending beacons for Hulu to reprocess.
An analysis of IVT during Q4 of 2016 shows that IVT typically fluctuates at immaterial levels.
When significant changes to Hulu’s filtration methods and / or technology are implemented, Hulu issues a statement to clients with active or upcoming Ad Campaigns. This is reserved for situations where notification provides a discernible benefit to clients. For security purposes, Hulu discloses as little as possible when it comes to its filtration techniques. Disclosures will be accordingly high-level.
Hulu reports a variety of metrics to clients on a per-Campaign basis.
The reports in accreditation scope – Post-Buy and Device – are presented to clients at multiple points in the Campaign, depending on Campaign length and client preference. The Post-Buy is always presented after a Campaign ends.
Estimation is not used. Report metrics are composed solely from actual data collected in the measurement process.
While report data accumulates on a day-by-day basis, it is considered final as, once processed, a day’s data is official and generally unchanging. Data revisions are possible but rare.
These are Impressions and Completions, and their derivatives – Completion Rate and Delivered Percent.
Impressions and Completions are segregated in three ways:
Non-accredited metrics are also presented. These include, but are not limited to: quartiles, Clicks, Clickable Impressions and Completions, Click-Through Rate (CTR), Time Spent Viewing, and Unique Users.
Open columns with no metrics or data can also be presented. They are meant to reserve space conveniently for manual data entry. These include Estimated Spend values, Third Party and Discrepancy.
Reports can be:
Per Hulu’s product options, static companion ads like banners and logo are often displayed alongside video and rich-media ads. These companion ads are segregated in reporting as distinct products.
Campaigns parameters are entered by Hulu’s Campaign Coordinators. Before being set live, every Campaign is subject to full review by a Campaign Manager.
After going live, Campaigns undergo pacing monitoring by Campaign Managers to ensure they’re delivering as expected. Optimizations and debugging are performed if necessary.
Revised metrics, including Impressions and Completions, will be communicated when excluded or invalid activity is detected for a Campaign after initial reporting and within three days after the end of the Campaign. The methods of communication include e-mail statement and / or updated reporting.
Campaigns billed against Hulu metrics are never billed for IVT traffic. In other words, Ad Campaign targets are always met after discounting any traffic identified as IVT. However, as mentioned above, clients are always notified of gross vs. net numbers. After reviewing these, clients may contact their Hulu Campaign Manager to discuss any general questions around IVT volume and classification.
Source data for Hulu’s reports is retained indefinitely without expiry. Records of data reissuance are also retained indefinitely.
At the time of this writing, Hulu maintains an important relationship with Akamai.
Akamai provides CDN services, playing a pivotal role in beacon gathering, and consequently has a material impact on Hulu ad delivery. Other business relationships exist but are not listed due to having no influence on Hulu’s ad delivery mechanisms. Per MRC regulations, Hulu has worked with Akamai to complete a qualification process whereby Hulu ascertains Akamai’s stance and progress against anti-IVT measures. While Akamai relies on its clients to make their own IVT policy decisions, Akamai offers a suite of tools to counteract IVT. This suite includes Bot Manager, which allows clients to configure appropriate responses to requests from bots, and use white and black lists. Another tool offered is Kona Site Defender, which provides rate control and analytics, as well as IVT-behavior detection. Akamai has also granted Hulu access to its SOC 2 security-based reportA
The 10-episode series is inspired by Nick Hornby’s novel and the Touchstone film of the same name. It reimagines the story from the female perspective. Kravitz, who will executive produce in addition to starring, will play the ultimate music fan–a record store owner who’s obsessed with pop culture and Top Five lists.
Crossing Swords will star Nicholas Hoult as Patrick, a goodhearted peasant who lands a coveted squire position at the royal castle. His dream job quickly turns into a nightmare when he learns his beloved kingdom is run by a hornet’s next of horny monarchs, crooks, and charlatans. Even worse, Patrick is the black sheep in his family and now his criminal siblings have returned to turn his world upside down.
In Spring 2020, Hulu is teaming up with the creative minds behind fan-favorite Rick & Morty to launch their next animated hit Solar Opposites. The adults animated series centers around a family of aliens from a “better world” who must take refuge in middle America. The problem is – they disagree on whether their new habitat is terrible or terribly awesome.
PEN15 is middle school as it really happened, where the best day of your life can turn into your worst with the stroke of a gel pen. Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle write and star in the adult comedy, playing versions of themselves as 13 year old outcasts in the year 2000 – surrounded by actual 13 year olds.
Hulu teams up with SNL’s Lorne Michaels and Aidy Bryant to develop the memoir, Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman. In this single-camera comedy, we will follow an overweight woman living in Seattle. And while she may want to change different aspect of her life – her body is not one of them.
No medium has the ability to deeply explore and bring complicated characters to life like television. One of the most fascinating characters from recent headlines has been Elizabeth Holmes and her failed blood testing company, Theranos. This is an unbelievable story of ambition and fame gone terribly wrong and we can’t wait to see Kate McKinnon portray the infamous CEO.
Daimon and Ana Helstrom are the son and daughter of a mysterious and powerful serial killer in Marvel’s Helstrom. The siblings have a complicated dynamic as they track down the terrorizing worst of humanity — each with their attitude and skills.Marvel’s Helstrom is executive produced by Paul Zbyszewski, who will serve as showrunner and Marvel’s Jeph Loeb.
Academy and Emmy Award-winning actress Nicole Kidman will produce and star in a new drama series for Hulu based on the New York Times best seller Nine Perfect Strangers, from the author of Big Little Lies. This series will be produced by Emmy Award-winning producers Bruna Papandrea and the incomparable David E. Kelly.
The Great is a genre bending, anti-historical ride through 18th Century Russia following the wildly comic rise of Catherine the Nothing to Catherine the Great.
The series stars Elle Fanning as Catherine, Nicholas Hoult, Phoebe Fox, Adam Godley, Gwilym Lee, Charity Wakefield, Douglas Hodge and Sacha Dhawan.
The Great is created, written and executive produced by Tony McNamara (THE FAVOURITE) and executive produced by Marian Macgowan, Thruline’s Josh Kesselman and Ron West, Echo Lake’s Brittany Kahan Ward, Doug Mankoff and Andrew Spaulding, Elle Fanning and Matt Shakman, who also directed the pilot. The project is produced by MRC.
Ramy Hassan is a first generation Egyptian-American who is on a spiritual journey in his politically-divided New Jersey neighborhood. RAMY will bring a new perspective to the screen as it explores the challenges of what it’s like being caught between a Muslim community that thinks life is moral a test and a millennial generation that thinks life has no consequences.
Reprisal is a hyper-kinetic revenge tale following a relentless femme fatale (Abigail Spencer) who, after being left for dead, leads a vengeful campaign against a bombastic gang of gear heads.
The drama series stars Spencer, Rodrigo Santoro, Mena Massoud, Madison Davenport, Rhys Wakefield, David Dastmalchian, W. Earl Brown and Gilbert Owuor. Reprisal is created, written and executive produced by Josh Corbin. Warren Littlefield, Barry Jossen and Jonathan van Tulleken, who also directed the pilot, serve as executive producers. Ann Johnson and Graham Littlefield serve as co-executive producers. The series is produced by A+E Studios in association with The Littlefield Company.
The comedy follows a young woman who – after being dumped by her longtime boyfriend – must deal with her own imagination in order to literally and metaphorically re-enter the world of women, and rekindle the female friendships she left behind.
The 10-episode series will star actress Kat Dennings (2 Broke Girls), who is also set to executive produce the comedy alongside Creator and Writer Jordan Weiss (Harley Quinn) and Showrunner Ira Ungerleider. Additional executive producers include Margot Robbie, Brett Hedblom and Tom Ackerley for LuckyChap Entertainment; Bryan Unkeless and Scott Morgan for Clubhouse Pictures; Nicole King and Stephanie Laing (Vice Principals). Matt Spicer (Ingrid Goes West) will executive produce and direct the first episode.
In a new, multi-year, multi-show partnership, Hulu will partner with Vox Media Studios, David Chang’s Majordomo Media, and Chrissy Teigen’s Suit & Thai Productions to develop and produce a slate of premium food-centric programming for the platform. As the founder and chef of the Momofuku restaurant group, Chang brings a profound understanding of global food culture, while Vox Media Studios lends its world-class storytelling capabilities and a wealth of experience built through its food and travel network, Eater. New York Times bestselling cookbook author Teigen will co-produce and headline a diverse cast of compelling and knowledgeable personalities—from household names and celebrated chefs to everyday home cooks—who will entertain and provoke viewers with a variety of inventive new shows.
From J.J. Abrams and Stephen King comes an original psychological-horror series set in the Stephen King multiverse. Castle Rock combines the mythological scale and intimate character storyline of King’s best-loved works, weaving an epic saga of darkness and light, played out on a few square miles of Maine woodland.
Little Fires Everywhere follows the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and an enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington star.
Based on one of the most influential and important groups in hip-hop history, Wu-Tang, the series marks the latest high-profile original series order from Hulu that aims to deliver authentic, culturally relevant storytelling to today’s audiences.
In Looking For Alaska, Miles “Pudge” Halter is heading to boarding school in hopes that he gains a deeper perspective in life. Things eventually take a turn for the worst, and the girl he falls in love with unexpectedly dies causing Pudge and his friends to uncover the truth behind her death.
Veronica Mars is back to show us not all super heroes wear capes. This season, Spring breakers are getting murdered in Neptune, thereby decimating the seaside town’s tourist industry. After Mars Investigations is hired by the parents of one of the victims to find their son’s killer, Veronica is drawn into an epic eight – episode mystery that pits the enclave’s wealthy elites against the working class.
The Act is a seasonal anthology series that tells startling, stranger-than-fiction true crime stories. Season One follows Gypsy Blanchard (Joey King), a girl trying to escape the toxic relationship she has with her overprotective mother, Dee Dee (Patricia Arquette). Her quest for independence opens a Pandora’s box of secrets, one that ultimately leads to murder.
Based on the acclaimed Joseph Heller novel, Catch-22 follows the adventures and misadventures of a US air squadron in Italy in World War II. Yossarian, a bombardier, whose frantic obsession every time he goes up on a mission is “to come down alive”. His odds of success at such a simple aim keep getting worse because Colonel Cathcart keeps raising the number of missions the men have to fly. More than the retreating Germans, the real enemy for Yossarian and his rag-tag bunch of friends is the bureaucracy of the military, inverting logic at every turn. The pinnacle of this is Catch-22, a military by-law which states that if you fly your missions, you’re crazy, and don’t have to fly them; all you have to do is ask. But if you ask not to, then you’re sane, and so you have to fly them.
Q: Why do you prefer PCM codec?
A: PCM codec is lossless audio quality, so whenever possible, please deliver PCM audio.
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: 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.
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.
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: 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.
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.
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]
Based on the stories of real women and set against the backdrop of 18th century Georgian London, Harlots is a powerful family drama offering a brand new take on the city’s most valuable commercial activity – sex. Acclaimed actresses Samantha Morton (Rillington Place, The Last Panther, Cider with Rosie) and Jessica Brown Findlay (Victor Frankenstein, The Outcast, Downton Abbey), are set to star in the series.
The Handmaid’s Tale is an adaptation of prolific author Margaret Atwood’s influential and acclaimed novel. The special event drama series will take place in the dystopian society of Gilead, a former region of the United States that has been transformed by revolution and religious fundamentalism. Golden Globe® winner Elisabeth Moss (Top of The Lake, Mad Men) is set to star as the lead character, Offred. The series will be created, executive produced, and written by Bruce Miller (The 100) with Ilene Chaiken (Empire, The L Word) serving as executive producer. Atwood will serve as Consulting Producer for the series.
Into the Dark, from the visionary director Jason Blum and Blumhouse Television, this first-of-its-kind episodic series is guaranteed to bring edge-of-your-seat entertainment to passionate horror fans throughout the year through 12 standalone feauture-length events.
A janitor by day/world-ranked gamer by night is tasked with preventing the extinction of humanity after mysterious visitors from the future proclaim him the key to defeating the imminent super-race invasion in Future Man. Directed by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen.
Every teenager thinks their parents are evil. What if you found out they actually were? Marvel’s Runaways is the story of six diverse teenagers who can barely stand each other but who must unite against a common foe – their parents.
Light as a Feather, when an innocent game of “Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board” goes wrong when the five teen girls who played start dying off in the exact way that was predicted, forcing the survivors to figure out why they’re being targeted – and whether the evil force hunting them down is one of their own.
This summer, join in the fun as Mindy Kaling returns to Hulu as Executive Producer and writer of Four Weddings & A Funeral – an anthology series based on the iconic 1994 romantic comedy.