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Podcast: Who Doesn’t Envy Hulu?

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As big brands seeking younger audiences move TV budgets online, some have been put off by digital’s triple threat: brand safety, viewability and fraud.

Hulu is there for them.

Hulu basically offers the benefits of TV in a digital buy, according to Doug Fleming, Hulu’s head of advanced TV. Seventy-seven percent of Hulu viewing happens on a TV device, offering advertisers the creative impact of television with the data advantages of digital.

“Because we’ve always been able to talk TV, that money is moving toward us,” Fleming says in the latest episode of AdExchanger Talks. “We are the first stop for those replacement dollars.”

Hulu is group owned by network rivals ABC, Fox, Turner and NBCU, and the joint venture’s durability (it’s nine years old) testifies to the seriousness of their project. Hulu now reaches 47 million people, and 32 million see its ads. Once known as “the best of last night’s TV,” the company is now winning accolades for its original programming, including eight Emmys this year for “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Advanced TV ad targeting is a real business for Hulu, but it’s not always easy. Much work needs to be done to create a common synchronized ID among the over-the-top (OTT) platforms offered by Roku, Apple, Google and Amazon.

Fleming describes these companies as “great partners and keenly important to us,” but, he adds, “the lack of standards in OTT devices will be a challenge for us in coming years.”

Another area that needs work: creative execution in OTT.

“It’s that interactivity in the living room, that marriage of data with the right creative,” Fleming says. “There’s been painstaking work done to identify the audience, yet you ham-and-egg your way through it by using the exact same creative you use for the mass market. The next technology boom is how you create multiple examples of the same creative that’s tailored to a specific audience that you’ve gone to great lengths to identify.”

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Hulu also wants to get a better handle on its own audience viewing behavior.

“We sit on this war chest of first-party data,” he says. “We’re looking toward building out our own internal data mart, to take all the behaviors we get from the live and SVOD services and allow advertisers to marry data assets together.”

Also in this episode: Hulu’s ad stack, its “Live TV” product and tracking households vs. individuals.

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