Hulu

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01
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Part
01

Hulu Marketing Challenges

Geographical limitations, sharing of accounts, advertising inventory, and advertisement capping are 4 challenges faced by Hulu in terms of both marketing to potential advertisers and marketing to subscribers.

Challenges in Marketing to Subscribers

GEOGRAPHIC LIMITATIONS
SHARING OF ACCOUNTS

Challenges in Marketing to Advertisers

ADVERTISING INVENTORY
  • For years, Hulu had a limited ad inventory available for its advertisers.
  • In the past, Hulu limited its ad inventory so that its platform does not get overrun by ads.
  • Advertisers see Hulu as a very favorable OTT ad platform, as they consider it to be sure and certain.
  • According to Kristin Scheve, svp and media director at Digitas, Hulu "is a trusted one-stop shop to get premium content in a premium TV-like environment."
  • The company recently increased its ad inventory, in light of its growing ad-supported subscriber base.
  • Quoting Christine Peterson, U.S. digital investment lead at Mindshare North America, "Earlier over the past year, we were having more challenges with inventory availability, but Hulu’s made some very smart strategic moves in how to continue and increase their distribution, increase their consumer base and make more inventory available."
ADVERTISEMENT CAP

RESEARCH STRATEGY

For this research, we went ahead and scoured the press releases by the company. We hoped to gain insights into various problems faced by the company when marketing to advertisers or subscribers. However, the company press releases only contained information related to recent changes, upcoming shows, and planned features.

We then conducted a press scan related to Hulu and its advertisers/subscribers. This was done to gain third party insights into any challenges faced by Hulu in terms of both marketing to potential advertisers and marketing to subscribers. After going through several articles on Hulu and its relationships with its advertisers, we concluded that Advertising Inventory and Advertisement Capping are two challenges faced by Hulu when marketing to advertisers. These challenges affected the relationship between Hulu and its advertisers and limited the advertising potential of the platform.

We next scanned the market analysis of Hulu's subscriber growth by market experts. This was done to gain insights into challenges faced by Hulu when marketing to subscribers. We identified geographic limitations and the sharing of accounts as two challenges faced by the company, as both these issues affected the growth and number of subscribers to the platform. In the case of account sharing, separate research to find any specific steps taken by the company to address the issue. After looking for news and media associated with the topic, we found that the company has been solely focusing on increasing its consumer base and ad revenue. The company had not paid any special attention to the problem of account sharing as it has only recently started affecting the VOD market. In addition to the research, analysis of the data has also been done to correctly gauge the challenges and their perceived effect.
Part
02
of two
Part
02

Hulu Growth

Despite its lack of profits, Hulu has been seeing a steady growth in both ad revenue and subscriber count in the last few years. Its ad revenue reached $1.15 billion in 2018, increasing by 45% from last year. The subscribers to the platform have increased by 47%, reaching 25 million in 2018.

Ad Revenue

Subscribers

Sponsors and Advertisers

  • Some sponsors and advertisers on the platform include Hotels.com, Amazon Alexa, Coors Light, luxury consignment site The RealReal and Toyota.
  • The company has been testing "pause ads" on its platform as of recent, in which it piloted the ads of Coca-Cola and P&G’s Charmin.

Sources of Funding

Comparison to Competitors

RESEARCH STRATEGY

For this research, we started by doing general surface-level research on Hulu's background and past ad revenue and subscriber count. From our research, we learned that since Hulu is a private company, it does not release its subscriber and revenue data publicly. It does reveal its growth areas from time to time. Independent market analysts like eMarketer analyze the SEC filings of the company to provide revenue and subscriber growth rates at regular intervals. Similar to Hulu, its competitors also do not reveal their revenue and subscriber counts in the public domain. The data on revenue and subscriber count for Hulu has been taken from third party agencies due to this reason. For comparison between Hulu and its competitors, we have used subscriber count as the only metric, as they were publicly available for all the competing platforms. Using these stats, we have provided a high-level overview of Hulu's growth in the last 5 years and how it compares to its competitors.

The company also does not reveal a definitive list of sponsors and advertisers, neither does it reveal the revenue generated from them. We attempted a press scan of the company's press releases as well as external media sources. The results only shed light on the advertising strategy of the company and its recent testing of the "pause ad" service. No mention of 'major' sponsors or advertisers was found. Therefore, we have provided the only sponsors and advertisers mentioned to be present on the platform.
Sources
Sources