Posted December 2, 2008 10:47 am by with 6 comments

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By Joe Hall

If you are a frequent user of Hulu, like I am, then you are aware of the 30 second ads that are placed intermittently through our favorite programs. However, Hulu has been experimenting with ad placement for quite some time now and has recently released their findings that 88% of those polled would rather watch a two minute ad before the program begins with no other ads following, then the typical 30 second bits through out the program.

It appears that Hulu’s creative ad placements and options are paying off. According to a report last month that states that Hulu will soon surpass YouTube in ad revenue.

Hulu also states that the high opt-in rate for longer ads is a sign of possible increase in ad engagement. Giving the user more choices only increases their wiliness to engage, right?

In my honest opinion, I don’t think ad engagement will be affected with longer ads. In fact it might decrease. Here’s the way I see things:

Yes, I would opt in for the two minute ads at the beginning. That will give me just enough time to make a quick trip to the bathroom, read email, check Twitter, pick my nose, grab a beer, order pizza, or do anything other than watch a commercial. And now that I have made this decision, I have just done everything needed to sit back and watch 30 Rock commercial free! Thanks for the choice Hulu!

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  • I guess I think that $20 cpm’s for video ads will go the same way as pop unders and various other rich media gimmicks. They have a certain shock value, but the audience soon learns to ignore them.

  • That scenario makes sense if it’s a dry, boring ho-hum ad. In that case, I totally agree. However, in the age of DVR I will stop and watch something that looks interesting, commercial or not. It doesn’t have to be expensive with high production value, but clever, humorous, interesting, all the things advertisers SHOULD be doing will get you eyeballs regardless.

    To me advertisers with predictable formulaic ads complaining about losing eyeballs due to delivery method changes sounds a lot like movie and music producers blaming sagging sales on P2P at the same time they are putting out half-assed unoriginal crap like Bee Movie and Kanye West.

    Terry Howard’s last blog post..Walmart FAILS Web 2.0

  • As a regular HULU watcher, I think you guys got it wrong, respectfully. You are forgetting to include a crucial viewing pattern: repeat episode watching.

    My first 2m commercial I watched was for DOVE body wash. Yup, I got up and got a beer, frosty glass, sweet pour. I came back to he tail end of the 2m clip, around 30s to go.

    I watched KITCHEN NIGHTMARES uninterrupted.

    I then watched another HEROES and viewed the full 2m commercial for WALMART.

    The 3rd viewing, I was not offered the uninterrupted choice.

    I still remember the brands and THAT goes a long way (i.e. the friggen goal).

    Garry Egan’s last blog post..ROFLSERP – When You Have Achieved Total SEO Niche Market Domination

  • I didn’t know that Hulu was doing so well in terms of revenue. So they are catching up with youtube? Thats pretty amazing.

    Saad Kamal’s last blog post..Google Adwords Ad Quality Videos

  • I would imagine that like Garry, most people would simply go off to do something else for the two minutes rather than watch an ad, unless it is for the first time that the ad is running and it is interesting enough to watch. I doubt that anyone would watch it repeatedly.

    Nicole Price’s last blog post..Stylish Cookware

  • I agree that it makes sense for users to pick the 2 min ad. They get a chance to go do something else.

    The issue is that it will make it less profitable for the company running the ad. Repetition drives a point home much more than anything else – even if you hate to admit it.

    I am not sure what the right answer is for Hulu, or any video service, but you may as well do some testing – i.e. give them a specific url to go to or something. Interaction will probably be low, but given a random sample from two groups you could still get an idea of which one prompts the viewer to act more.

    Just my thoughts.

    David’s last blog post..Sales Over Scarcity