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Hulu Will Be First to Launch New Video Ad Format

Posted on 8.13.2010

With online video gaining an increasingly bigger share of Internet users’ time and attention, online video advertisers find themselves at a critical turning point. A new technology developed by VivaKi may very well determine the course for the entire industry, especially since it is receiving significant support from many of the major Web video publishers.

Hulu, Yahoo and AOL are among the online video publishers that will be offering users the opportunity to choose which ads they watch before or during a video. Hulu will be the first to deploy the technology — called ASq — presently targeting a Sept. 15 launch date.

Instead of pre-determined pre-roll and mid-roll ads running automatically, the publishers will give users two or three options to choose from. The intention is to provide a better viewing experience for the user as well as a higher ROI for the advertiser. VivaKi’s own research — backed by seven of the Web’s top video publishers — found click-through rates to be 240 percent higher with the option-based system than with standard pre-roll ads. “Top-of-mind awareness” was said to be 438 percent higher, and purchase intent rose to about 44 percent.

The process for viewers will be simple. After Sept. 15, Hulu users will be able to select an ad from two or three choices, and if no selection is made one of the ads will run automatically by default. It’s not surprising to see how the process would increase engagement and even purchase intent, and it’s hard not to see consumers responding favorably to the platform. How advertisers react will ultimately be decided by the performance of their ads.

Besides Hulu, additional publishers currently committed to the format include Yahoo, AOL, MSNBC, Discovery, CBS and video ad network BBE, all of which contributed financially to VivaKi’s research. Keep your eyes open for Hulu’s deployment in mid-September for what may become the new industry standard in online video advertising.

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