Talk about a valuable coupon.
Super Bowl ads cost several million dollars, but Hulu.com received 60 seconds on NBC free by essentially cashing in a voucher, according to a New York Times report.
The online video hub is a joint venture between NBC Universal and News Corp., with a stake owned by a private-equity firm. The Times said when the site was launched, it received credits to run ads on NBCU and News Corp. properties, but had not cashed any in until Sunday night.
It would appear as if the site, which apparently had not advertised on so-called traditional media before, made the most of the opportunity--with its second-half spot, which starred Alec Baldwin riffing on TV and brain function, getting good reviews.
It's possible Hulu could now hold its powder again and cash in more credits in February 2011, when News Corp.'s Fox has the Big Game. Perhaps that would focus on a Fox star, as Baldwin is a headliner on NBC's "30 Rock."
But while Hulu may have gotten the coveted media time for free Sunday, the production costs for the glitzy spot were certainly significant--and it may be angling to run it again before retiring it.
The Times had previously reported that Hulu was to pay for the ad time, quoting an NBCU executive.