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Video streaming platform Hulu is set to begin placing advertisements on the pause screen of select on-demand content.
According to an announcement from the company, the new ad feature, known simply as “pause ads,” was developed in order to make advertisements discreet.
“Just as consumers’ viewing habits have evolved, their expectations for advertising have also changed,” Hulu said. “Viewers no longer accept an irrelevant, intrusive ad experience and appreciate when brands tell their stories in authentic and integrated ways.”
Hulu Vice President and Head of Advertising Platforms Jeremy Helfand says the concept was developed after speaking with consumers, many he says, felt that modern advertisements have become too invasive.
“The whole conversation that we’ve had in this market, should a commercial break be 10 or 15 seconds—it’s all disruptive,” Helfand said in a press release.
Instead of a video ad abruptly interrupting viewers, the new ads will appear in the bottom right-hand side of the screen only after a video has been paused for several seconds.
In one such example shown by TechCrunch, a seemingly translucent ad for Charmin toilet paper can be seen on-screen.
While researching what ads would be acceptable to viewers, Hulu found that its customers were open to more or less any advertising format so long as it was “subtle and relevant.”
“Our pause ad research found that consumers generally preferred ads that were subtle and non-intrusive, and that extensive audio and video when pausing was considered disruptive,” Hulu said. “These insights led us to take our current approach to pause ads, and the research so far has shown a positive response from viewers.”
The streaming company, which currently boasts over 25 million subscribers, hopes that 50 percent of ad revenue within the next three years will derive from such “non-disruptive formats.”
“To stand out and continue engaging their target audiences, brands must rise to the challenge and flex their creative muscles to go beyond the traditional commercial break,” Hulu added.
Hulu viewers will start to see the new pause ads, at this point from either Charmin or Coca-Cola, in the second quarter of this year.
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Mikael Thalen is a freelance journalist based in Seattle, covering all things technology, including social media, data breaches, hackers, and more.