Willing to interact with an ad? You can watch some Hulu shows commercial-free if you do

Willing to watch an ad first? Hulu will let you watch some shows commercial-free if you do

Hulu will offer uninterrupted viewing on its ad-supported tier for consumers who engage with an interactive message before some shows.

(Dan Goodman / AP)

Hulu is going to see whether viewer engagement can yield ad engagement.

Following the recent introduction of its ad-free tier, the steaming service will now offer uninterrupted viewing on its ad-supported tier for those consumers who engage with an interactive message before some shows.

Fox Networks Group is the first programmer on Hulu to participate. 

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The interactive ads use technology from TrueX, a unit of 21st Century Fox (and a co-owner of Hulu). Viewers will have the option of watching a 30-second ad spot instead of approximately two minutes and 30 seconds of commercials peppered in an episode of a Fox show on Hulu.

“We are pleased to partner with true[X] to bring choice based advertising to viewers watching Fox Networks Group Content,” Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins said in a statement.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Hulu, which is owned by major media companies Walt Disney Co., NBCUniversal and 21st Century Fox, already has been letting viewers have some sort of say in the ads they choose to see through its Branded Entertainment Selector ad unit. That model allows viewers choose between watching one long-form commercial or traditional commercial breaks.


The streaming service, thus far, has relied on advertising revenue to help pay for the cost of expensive programming like “Seinfeld.” For current shows that are available to stream on Hulu the day after airing, the streaming service splits the ad revenue with the TV networks that supply the shows.

The paid subscription option with ads cost $7.99 a month. It’s ad-free tier, meanwhile, costs $11.99 per month.

“Digital video is an on-demand, non-linear medium, and having an ad format that fits this experience is a win for advertisers, publishers and viewers alike,” said Joe Marchese, president of advanced advertising products at Fox Networks Group and founder of TrueX.

Marketers expected to participate include food and beverage conglomerate Mondelez International, which will run interactive ads for Swedish Fish, Halls and Ritz, according to a release from TrueX.  


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