Hulu Debuts A New Type Of Ad Experience For Its Binge-Watchers

Good news for all you couch potatoes: Hulu is rolling out a special kind of ad experience for binge-watchers. The new Hulu binge ads will reward viewers who are watching multiple episodes of one program over a long stretch of time, with either an ad-free episode or a personalized offer from a brand partner.

Tech Crunch reports that Hulu is launching a new ad experience that will allow brands to specifically target binge-watchers. How do you get to be one of that special category of binge-watchers? Hulu defines a "binge" as a viewer watching three or more episodes of a series in a given time. Those who reach that desired third episode will be rewarded with either the next episode is ad-free or a personalized offer from a brand partner.

These "binge watch ads" will use machine learning techniques to predict when a viewer has begun a marathon of a series and generates relevant ads for the viewer. The partners that have teamed up with Hulu for this new binge-watch format include Kellogg's, Maker's Mark, and Georgia-Pacific, via Hulu's exclusive launch agency partner, Publicis Media.

Hulu first announced the binge watch ad concept at the streamer's annual NewFronts presentation this May. It's the latest experimentation in new advertising formats for Hulu, which recently rolled out "pause ads" that appear when a viewer presses the pause button.

But Hulu is smart to target binge-watchers, who have become the norm for online streaming since Netflix pioneered the method. According to Hulu, nearly 50% of its ad-supported viewing hours are spent during binge watch sessions. One of Hulu's shortcomings is the presence of its ads in the lowest tier of its subscriptions — an advantage that Netflix and Amazon have over it. By offering rewards for binge-watchers, especially the very enticing ad-free episode, Hulu could get a step up in the crowded streaming wars.