Hulu Announces Ad-Supported Downloadable Video at NewFront

At its 2018 newfront presentation—held earlier today in the newly re-branded Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, naturally—Hulu announced it will soon debut ad-supported downloadable video, making its content finally available for offline viewing. The downloading option will begin during the 2018-19 viewing season, the company said, but it didn’t mention whether or not it will be available for all content on the platform. While other services (including Netflix and Amazon Prime Video) offer untethered viewing, none offers ad-supported untethered viewing, making this attractive for advertisers.


Peter Naylor, SVP for advertising sales at Hulu

Hulu delivered plenty of content announcements today, including that “The Handmaids Tale” is renewed for a third season. The company confirmed that it’s taking “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” a limited series produced by Mindy Kaling, and announced that it won the exclusive streaming rights for “The Good Doctor.” A multi-year deal with DreamWorks Animation will make Hulu the exclusive home for several existing and upcoming DreamWorks movies. That deal includes creating new series that will live solely on Hulu.

Hulu had a lot to share with ad buyers, including that it will begin offering dynamically inserted ads in its live TV service later this quarter. This will let buyers reach viewers while they’re enjoying current news, sports, or entertainment. This option will come to select cable networks’ content first, with additional live content to follow in the coming months.

The company also announced it’s offering more metrics for advertisers, using Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings across the platform. Hulu is also now working with three new partners—Experian, IHS Markit, and Nielsen Buyer Insights—and expanding its work with IRI to help advertisers verify campaign effectiveness.

Hulu now has over 20 million U.S. subscribers, and 78 percent of viewing happens through connected TVs in the living room. The company notes that it added more U.S. subscribers in the past three quarters than any other streaming service, and ad-supported subscriptions grew 40 percent year-over-year. Astoundingly, over 35,000 people viewed all 331 episodes of “E.R.” in the first two months it was on Hulu. Now that’s binge-watching.

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