Hulu Uncorks A Private Exchange

HuluBeginning this fall, advertisers will be able to programmatically buy Hulu video inventory in a private marketplace across desktop, mobile and connected TV via Facebook’s LiveRail supply-side platform.

In its Tuesday announcement, Hulu said it will also use Oracle’s data-management platform (née BlueKai), through which marketers can enrich their buys by combining their anonymized first-party data with Hulu’s demographic/viewer data and third-party data segments from Oracle.

With its new programmatic solution, Hulu claims it can serve more relevant ads to each viewer.

It’s also telling marketers it can deliver a lighter ad loads than traditional TV, which improves brand recall. Peter Naylor, Hulu’s SVP of advertising, hinted last December about a private exchange when he discussed the targeting and automation benefits of programmatic.

Hulu also claims its unskippable formats make its ads inherently viewable and advertisers are charged only after an ad has been viewed through to completion.

These advantages appeal to marketers like Ben & Jerry’s Mike Hayes, who said watching video ads on Hulu “is very different than watching on Twitter or Facebook” because there’s generally less concern pre-roll will run sans sound.

Additionally, Hulu developed a number of formats like the Branded Entertainment Selector, which lets consumers choose their own video experience (watch a long-form commercial or one with standard commercial breaks). 

Hulu selected LiveRail’s Video Private Exchange technology in part because the platform’s granular controls enable “real-time decisions on the value of individual impressions.” Hulu believes this will improve ad relevancy.

“Our rule is that we will never serve the same creative more than two times per stream,” Naylor said in an earlier interview. “We want to try and fight ad fatigue and consistency is very important. We have the ability to run many ads per pod, but restraint is the key to consumer acceptance.”

Although Hulu had been long considering programmatic, it will not replace Hulu’s higher-touch upfront sponsorships and formats. For instance, Hulu rolled out Custom Integrated Commercials during the NewFronts, co-branded video ads where Hulu creates custom 30-second spots or branded “stories” to fit its viewers’ interests.

The launch of Hulu’s private exchange coincides with The Wall Street Journal’s report that the video streaming service has explored launching an ad-free version of its service. Other video platforms like YouTube have recently flirted with ad-free, subscription-based services.

But at its May NewFronts presentation, Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins called advertising “a huge part of our business, [which gives] us the firepower we need to provide a great experience,” noting there’s no “autoplay, muted or below-the-fold video ever on Hulu.”



Enjoying this content?

Sign up to be an AdExchanger Member today and get unlimited access to articles like this, plus proprietary data and research, conference discounts, on-demand access to event content, and more!

Join Today!

1 Comment

  1. I was actually wondering why in the last couple years I had noticed Hulu getting better with what they were recommending to me. When I first joined Hulu I was watching shows like Arrow, and the ads I would get did not match what I actually liked since that was just advertised to the masses. Since that show is based off a comic book it probably just threw me into the “nerd” category and gave me ads for shows like The Big Bang Theory. Not really something I care about, but I get their train of thought. Since then they actually show me things I’d want to see almost all the time. Same goes for AT&T internet and cable. I actually did some research for this one and saw that a company named SundaySky does this kind of video personalization for them ( ) and they have some pretty good ads too (just because they actually apply to me). But I am all for this change and I hope it comes to tv soon since a lot of televisions are Smart TVs.