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Connecting with Your Customers in the Age of Social Distancing

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People are continuing to stream—even more than before. Hulu Ad Manager, our new self-service ad solution, can help your business to advertise on Hulu during this heightened time of streaming and beyond.

It’s no surprise that media consumption is higher than ever—social distancing has transformed how people are spending their time. With more time at home, consumers are turning to TV and devices more and more for connection, information, and entertainment. Now is the perfect time to connect with your customers via streaming and we’ve got a new way to help you do it, with Hulu Ad Manager, our new self-service ad solution.

The jump in media consumption starting in March 2020 is jaw dropping:

According to Nielsen, overall television consumption is up, with larger increases in viewing through connected devices and in usage of game consoles, which encompasses both video viewing and actual gaming.

At Hulu, we are also seeing increases in both viewers and engagement. Our more than 30 million* subscribers are spending record amounts of time on our service, both with live TV and breaking news, and with thousands of episodes of their favorite comedies, dramas and movies. Given the massive consumer shift to streaming TV that’s occurred over the last couple years, Hulu has already experienced tremendous momentum on the heels of our product and content.

Compared to this time last year, viewing on Hulu is up 48%. And during this month, as more people turn to Hulu for both information and distraction, we continue to see week-over-week gains in engagement, across all devices.

What’s happening on Hulu?

So what exactly are people watching? Hulu is seeing growth in engagement across all genres, though viewers are certainly gravitating towards “comfort” TV shows like comedies. Other categories that saw the biggest jumps in engagement were movies and kids content. Some examples of titles that experienced big lifts include Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Rick and Morty, Love Island UK, The Golden Girls, Dave, Teen Titans Go!, The Good Doctor, Grey’s Anatomy, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Hulu’s newest Originals, Normal People and Little Fires Everywhere – showing that all genres are represented.

Not surprisingly, we’re also seeing “binge” behavior starting to increase. At Hulu, we define a binge as a viewing session that includes 3+ episodes from a single series. We’ve already shared some enlightening insights from our data around this pervasive behavior:

  • 65% of Hulu viewers binge watch a series in any given month.
  • 20% binge 4 shows or more.
  • On average, it takes 26 days for a viewer to complete a season, and about 27% of the time, binge sessions include episodes from more than one season.

We’re currently seeing more binge viewing occurring on Hulu, as sessions grew over 30% from early to late March.

Hulu also offers a live TV service, where we’re seeing similar trends as have been reported on traditional linear service. For example, viewing of news content continues to increase. Hulu + Live TV viewers spent 54% more time watching news at the end of March 2020 than they did at the beginning of the month.

What does this mean for brands?

According to a global study from Kantar about consumer attitudes and media habits, only 8% of respondents believe that brands should stop advertising altogether in today’s climate. In fact, Kantar warns that a six-month absence from TV advertising will result in an estimated 39% reduction in total brand communication awareness.

For those that continue advertising, a clear majority of consumers expect advertising to make a positive contribution to society, including: talking about how the brand can be helpful in the new everyday life (77%); informing about their efforts to face the situation (75%); and offering a reassuring tone (70%). Two “don’ts” are exploiting the situation to promote the brand (75%) and using a humorous tone (40%).

In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing more information on Hulu viewers’ specific expectations for brand messaging during this time – how do they want to hear from the products and services? What tone and attributes would most resonate? How can a brand best navigate these unprecedented times? Stay tuned as we continue to tap into our consumer base and user data to provide insights and direction.

Let’s Take Action

Recent events have us all venturing into uncharted waters, but your business, small or large, doesn’t have to do it alone. We built our new self-service advertising solution, the Hulu Ad Manager, to allow businesses like yours to appear where your customers are watching.

This tool simplifies streaming TV advertising for small businesses, making it possible to include it in your overall marketing strategy. Learn more about our new way to launch, manage, and track your business’s streaming TV ads and increase your visibility, in these times and beyond.


Source: Kantar, COVID-19 Barometer: Consumer attitudes, media habits and expectations, March 25th, 2020

Source: Persons Using Television (PUT): Live Linear TV + DVR Playback + Set-Top-Box VOD (PUT is largely comprised of Traditional Nielsen-encoded Content from the Broadcast and Cable Networks)

Source: Total Usage of Television (TUT) : PUT + Connected Devices Streaming from Non-Nielsen encoded Sources (like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu) + Video Game Consoles + DVD/Blu-Ray

Source: Connected Device Usage : Video Viewing via SmartTVs, Roku, Amazon Fire, etc.

Source: Game Console Usage: Gaming + Video Consumption on Xbox, PS4, etc.

Source: Disney Quarterly Earnings Report (as of 2/4/20)

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