Hulu Grabs the Big Bucks

As newspapers and magazine’s cringe in pain seeing advertising dollars disappear, Television executives should take note of the recent announcement that Hulu has signed a major ad deal. ¬†Mediavest (, a major media buying firm based in New York and Los Angeles, diverted dollars that were targeted for television to one of the larger players in Internet TV,


Hulu helped the Internet steal a little more money from television today thanks to a multi-million dollar upfront deal with MediaVest.

The deal, which includes six unnamed clients but could expand to include more, diverts millions of dollars from the agency’s broadcast budget to the premium content site on the promise that it can target demographic clusters in much the way television traditionally has.

Hulu is “really moving closer to demographics and demographic clusters versus households, which is traditionally how online video has been served up to the marketplace,” said Amanda Richman, managing director and EVP of digital at the Publicis-owned media shop.

Hulu is able to offer advertisers more precise demographic information than other online video sites because it combines its own comscore ratings with the Nielsen data for its programs. This provides “more precision and accountability,” Richman said, and goes a long way toward “bringing online video in alignment with the way we look at broadcast.”

As part of the deal, MediaVest will conduct research with Hulu on what kinds of ad models and formats work best. Most Hulu ads consist of 15- to 30-second videos, either as pre-rolls or interstitials during longer content. The MediaVest research will focus on “understanding consumer receptivity” to certain ad formats “versus the same content on television.”

The fact that MediaVest is making its biggest online video deal to date with Hulu and not YouTube is noteworthy given Publicis’ “relationship” with Google, announced in January 2008. The reason is presumably the absence of premium, monetizable content on YouTube versus Hulu. But Richman cautioned against reading into it.

“One of the deals we are doing is with Hulu, but that wouldn’t preclude us doing any deal with YouTube as well,” she said.

According to Comscore, Google sites were still the most watched online video destination as of April of this year, accounting for 40 percent of the video-viewing online population. But the much-younger Hulu had moved into the third place position for the first time that month, albeit with just 2.6 percent of viewers.

Posted by Chuck Ebbets   @   9 October 2009

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