Last year, estimates pegged Hulu revenue at $1.5bn. Even without sight of the split, it’s fair to say that advertising is becoming big business for the VOD joint venture.
Now it’s considering its options for the next generation of advertising – virtual reality. Hulu began putting content in to VR in March, and is now looking at advertising there.
“Virtual reality Hulu is a big deal in that we’re agnostic,” the company’s ad sales SVP Peter Naylor explains to Beet.TV in this video interview. “We are on all the platforms that you can imagine, from Samsung Gear to Daydream and all points in between.
“We’ve built a pretty big library of both acquired and increasingly original content. We’ve done deals with HuffPo’s RYOT for some news and we’re doing work with LiveNation to do some music. We’re really leaning into it … I think we’ve got as good a shot as anybody to get attention from viewers.”
So what about the advertising execution?
“We’re free to experiment,” he says. “You can imagine everything from entitlement, you know, the following clip is brought to you by the good people at McDonald’s, all the way up until almost borrowing from an interruptive model.”
Let’s hedge our bets a little here. VR not yet widely adopted – and many brands are smarting from having bet wearables would be the next big screen. Even if VR does, finally take off, massive question marks hang over what an advertising deployment might look like. VR will be such an intimate environment, consumers may naturally feel sensitive to intrusion.
It’s a sensitivity Naylor is attuned to.
“A lot of people argue about, ‘You really can’t do a 30 second spot within a VR clip’. Maybe, maybe not. I think everything should be experimented with. In an age where everyone’s concerned about distracted viewing and multitasking, when you’ve got a VR experience happening, you cannot look away from the ad. I think the engagement and brand awareness for the advertisers just goes through the roof when you’re consuming content with a VR headset.