Hulu is experimenting with a brand new type of advertising.
The video-streaming service announced on Thursday that it's testing a new ad unit that presents viewers with an advertisement when they pause what they’re watching on Hulu.
The “pause ad,” as Hulu is calling it, is meant to provide its users with a non-intrusive ad experience. Hulu says they have already been testing out the pause ad, which is how they’ve developed the product which they’re officially unveiling today.
When a viewer pauses their video, a transparent static banner ad will show on their screen. The ad will contain no video or audio. The advertisement is meant to be subtle, non-disruptive and initiated by the viewer so as to not interrupt the video they’re watching.
According to TechCrunch, there will be a few seconds of buffer space between when a user pauses the show and a pause ad shows up. This is so users who are simply pausing to rewind aren’t interrupted by a brand’s advertisement. Once a user moves their streaming device’s remote control, the pause ad will disappear. Also, brands will be able to determine exactly what type of content it wants its pause ads to appear one.
Hulu has already announced two big brands, Coca-Cola and Charmin, which will be running the first pause ads in a beta run. The video streaming service looks to officially roll out the experimental ad unit in Q2 2019. The company stated it wants pause ads to make up a significant portion of its ad revenue over the next couple of years.
Pause ads are a very interesting move from Hulu especially with the video streaming service market heating up. The company announced earlier this month that it had more than 25 million paying customers subscribed to its service. Its number one competitor, Netflix, has around five times as many subscribers as Hulu.
However, the service has made a number of moves to remain competitive such ad lowering the price of its popular ad-supported plan in response to Netflix raising its prices. If Hulu’s pause ads can prove to be effective for both the streaming service and advertisers, as well as delivering on being viewer-friendly, Hulu may see an uptick in subscriptions from former Netflix subscribers looking for more affordable options.