Media

Hulu’s new ads will let you order a pizza without leaving the video player

Above: Hulu's new ad units let you order pizza from the actual TV commercial.

Image Credit: Hulu

Hulu is teaming up with Pizza Hut on a new type of in-context advertising that’ll let you order food during a commercial break — right from the screen you’re watching.

The move is part of Hulu’s strategy to reinvigorate its ad products, which it announced today at the company’s Hulu Upfront presentation in New York. The annual event is typically where TV networks unveil a slate of new programming, but it also attracts the kind of audience that might be interested in signing up for a more engaging kind of TV commercial.

The Pizza Hut ad is what Hulu is referring to as an “in-stream purchase unit,” a name that isn’t exactly catchy. Yet, the new ad type could be a game changer for the TV ad industry because it gives brands the opportunity to bypass “marketing” and go straight for the sale.

Television commercials are extremely effective because people are often already deeply engaged while watching a long-form video (movie or TV episode). Hulu’s service — as well as the ads it runs — also has a high engagement for this very reason.

The company revealed at the event that its users watch an average of 50 minutes every time they log in to the service. And if the company can create a type of ad that offers to increase that engagement, it could be very attractive to brands.

I’m guessing these new ad spots will pop up first on Hulu’s desktop website, but the company also promised to start selling interactive ads that scale across multiple devices.

This is important because people are gravitating away from desktops in favor of watching long-form streaming video content on mobile devices and Internet-connected TVs. (Personally, I can’t tell you the last time I watched Hulu on the web, which is why I know that most non-desktop Hulu ads are no different from what’s running during commercial breaks on linear TV.)

At the event, Hulu also said it plans to offer better mobile ads, which likely has to do with the company’s decision to let everyone stream some of its TV shows on mobile devices, as VentureBeat covered earlier today.

More information:

ounded in March 2007, Hulu is operated independently by a dedicated management team with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Seattle and Beijing. NBC Universal, News Corporation, as of April 2009, Disney, Providence Equity Partn... read more »

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