Hulu's Move Into Programmatic Signals Change

Hulu's recent announcement that it will move into programmatic buying for the first time, making some of its premium digital video inventory available this fall, is further evidence of Madison Ave.’s push to decouple audiences from content. 

With Hulu -- one of the premier digital video content providers on the Web -- buying into that notion, one of the larger domino pieces has now fallen.

The company has teamed with Oracle’s data management platform (DMP) and Facebook’s LiveRail, a video ad exchange, to support its programmatic efforts.

Using Oracle’s DMP, Hulu will combine first- and third-party data to create audience segments which marketers will then be able to target via a private marketplace Hulu is creating with LiveRail, per a release.



“The marketplace has shown that data is overwhelmingly the new currency,” stated Peter Naylor, SVP of advertising at Hulu.

Despite going “programmatic,” Hulu is retaining a certain level of control over its sales structure. By creating a private marketplace with LiveRail -- rather than an open marketplace -- Hulu can still pull the levers when it comes to which advertisers have access to its inventory. Additionally, Hulu will still sell inventory on a direct-with-advertiser basis, but will use Oracle’s DMP to let those advertisers buy precise audiences rather than blanket-buy an entire piece of content.

In other words, Hulu still has final say over which advertisers buy its ads and for how much, but now data and technology are being used to determine which consumers those ads are delivered to.

It’s further evidence of Madison Ave.’s push to decouple audiences from content.

Facebook (by way of LiveRail) is already involved in programmatic video advertising, and Google’s YouTube also sells ad units programmatically -- though Google plans to bring more of that in-house by the end of this year by taking YouTube inventory off DoubleClick AdX and rerouting advertisers that want to buy YouTube inventory via programmatic to Google-owned platforms.

Representatives from Magna Global and UM lent their support to Hulu’s programmatic push in prepared statements. Both plan to programmatically purchase Hulu ads once the offering goes live this fall.

Hulu notes in its release that the ads on its video players are unskippable. The company also asserts it will only charge marketers for ads that are viewed to 100% completion.

An earlier version of this post appeared on Real-Time Daily.

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