Hulu: Is it the End of Cable TV and What Could That Mean for Advertisers?

Hulu, an online application that allows users to watch movies and television shows, has recently launched a desktop application that could affect how advertisers reach their desired audiences.

The application brings the service to both PC and Mac users and works with Apple and Windows Media Center remote controls. With its slickĀ  interface, Internet streaming video is now an attractive option to cable television.

A recent Wall Street Journal article indicates more viewers are foregoing expensive cable bills for YouTube, Netflix and now Hulu. As my personal cable bill runs close to $200 a month (including a landline phone and Internet service), I don’t blame the “cord cutters” and have considered making the switch.

But how could this shift affect advertisers and marketers?

  • The Web provides different viewer demographics. Advertisers should pay close attention to analytics for specific sites, movies and shows to better target their message strategy. For example, Hulu reported nearly half of its adult viewing audience was 55 or older when the site went public in March 2008. Adults age 18-24 accounted for not even one of every five viewers.

It’s not the ‘Tweeny audience you might have perceived it to be online.

  • Many Hulu ads so far have been repurposed television advertisements. Businesses need to rethink how they budget their campaigns, putting less money into expensive backdrops and celebrity voiceovers and more money into developing fun, interactive content to entice viewers.

Remember, these viewers don’t want information shoved in their face. They want to interact with your business. Give them a reason to experience your product in a unique way with a game or clickable content.

  • Should businesses ditch their cable advertising? Not necessarily.

But just as CDs replaced cassettes and DVDs replaced VHS tapes (and how BluRay discs are replacing DVDs), businesses can count on opt-in advertising strategies replacing in-your-face flash and circumstance. The ones who pioneer this marketing territory today will be the leaders of the pack tomorrow.

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