Hulu and Broadband Video Advertising in Canada

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Online video and social media spending takes off

Having had a lot of experience in both online video and social media, you can imagine how happy it makes me to see graphs like the one on the right indicating that these areas may be the best to weather the current economic storm.

Strangely enough, while I feel strongly about the power of social media / online community to transform and democratize how we live our lives, when it comes to media I’m fully in the major brand camp. In other words, I believe that user generated content will never take the lion’s share of business away from those compelling (read expensive) narratives (TV, movies) that someone (Disney et al) is willing to put major marketing dollars behind. In a world of choice, we need to have this plethora of content sifted for us more than ever.

So with that in mind, I’m fascinated to report that Hulu is coming to Canada. Well, the word on the street anyway, is that this NBC/Fox/Newscorp-backed broadband video entity is knocking on major content doors to gain broadband distribution rights. So what we’re witnessing is a new world order in the media landscape, as major content players are stepping over old-world geographic boundaries and going head-to-head with the distributors (Rogers, Bell etc) that they still have major deals with. It’s a whole new ball game.

Just as interesting, new data  from Comscore shows that Hulu has – in less than a year – taken up the sixth spot in total traffic amongst broadband video players.  That is an amazing leap in and of itself, but not nearly as astounding as their average 11.6 minutes of viewing time per user(Google/Youtube, the pack leader with 40% of traffic, likely clocks in at the overall average of 3 minutes).

To me, this just proves that you have to have the big guns (Lost, Grey’s Anatomy, whatever) to attract – and keep – the eyeballs. Now, I hear that Disney is asking the same CPM for their 15 second ads as their 30 second ones, which means that you could squeeze in several (at around $50/CPM) and voila, you’re banking more than Apple at a couple of bucks a show.

Seems to me we are on the verge of a major breakthrough with broadband video. Hulu’s got the interface right. The business case is proving itself.  The bandwidth is no longer an issue. And, with a little more time and usage, we’ll start to see what we were salivating about five years ago with IPTV – the promised land of targeted – or better yet – opt-in video advertising.

Just think. No more tampon commercials for me.

MichaelHulu and Broadband Video Advertising in Canada

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