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Heads Up, Hulu Subscribers: You Might Soon See Ads While The Video Is Paused

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Hulu will soon show ads when a film or TV show is paused. These ads are in a different format than Hulu's traditional video ads. Instead, they're more similar to pop-ups in that when content is paused, an image will be overlaid on top.

Jeremy Helfand, Hulu's VP for advertising platforms, likens them to "a car billboard on the side of the road." The ad won't appear until a few seconds after a video is paused. They'll also be somewhat related to the content being played, or at least that's the goal.

Hulu Pause Ads

Hulu says it has 25 million subscribers, and most of them are on an ad-supported plans, which means they're used to seeing ads before or during their TV watching experience. However, Hulu decided to take a different approach.

In a blog post, Helfand wrote that through research, Hulu found out that consumers generally preferred ads that are subtle and non-intrusive. Conversely, ads with extensive audio and video that play when content is paused are considered disruptive.

"These insights led us to take our current approach to pause ads, and the research so far has shown a positive response from viewers."

Great For Advertisers

Advertisers also stand to benefit from this new format.

"[Advertisers] don't want to create a 30-second ad that the viewer doesn't see because they've left for the kitchen or the bathroom, or because they unpause the show five seconds into the ad," Helfand told TechCrunch.

Pause ads won't be appearing on episodes that have been rated TV-MA, Helfand noted. Also, Hulu will give advertisers not only the ability to pick specific genres where they can put ads on, but also the freedom to avoid certain ones. These capabilities might be further refined going forward too.

The company says it plans to launch pause ads in the second quarter of 2019, with the first two major advertisers being Coca-Cola and Charmin. Their ads will appear in select on-demand content.

Pause ads, according to Helfand, is just one part of a broader push for non-disruptive formats, where the ads don't stop the content or interrupt the person's viewing experience. Hulu eventually wants these kinds of ads to account to 50 percent of its ad revenue within the next three years.

Are you a Hulu subscriber? What do you think of pause ads? As always, feel free to sound off in the comments section below!

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