Hulu Beta Testing Ad Manager for Small Businesses

As new technologies have emerged over the years, small business owners have continued to adapt in order to make the most of these platforms. Perhaps most notably, the past decade has ushered in an age of social media that’s transformed the way businesses reach their customers. Meanwhile, linear television networks that typically carry local commercials have slowly been usurped by streaming services. Now one such service is expanding its advertising tools and letting smaller retailers in on the action,

This week, the Disney-controlled streamer Hulu announced a new self-service tool meant to enable small and medium-sized businesses to easily advertise on the platform. With the Hulu Ad Manager, businesses can set-up campaigns with budgets as low as just $500. As the company notes, this will give customers the chance to have their spots placed alongside premium content.

Looking at the demographics of streaming, Hulu points out that 90% of all 13 to 54-year-olds watch TV on such platforms. Meanwhile, as of this February, Hulu had more than 30 million subscribers. Although the company didn’t share the current breakdown of what service tiers these customers are on, a previous report showed that 70% of the platform’s viewers were watching via an ad-supported plan.

In a blog post announcing the Ad Manager, Hulu wrote, “We’re excited to bring this solution to smaller businesses, not only as a new marketing channel, but also as a way to enhance the overall viewer experience on Hulu.” They continued, “By opening up Hulu inventory to small and medium sized businesses, we’re giving viewers more creative diversity and relevancy in their ad experience.”

Although Hulu is currently owned by The Walt Disney Company and NBCUniversal, the latter company agreed to grant Disney full operating control of the service in 2019 (with plans for NBCU to fully divest their 33% stake as early as 2024). As a result, the service is also offered as a bundle with both ESPN+ and Disney+. In addition to its ad-supported tier, Hulu also currently offers a commerical-free option as well as their Hulu + Live TV plans.

With more and more viewers tuning in to streaming services, the ability for small businesses to advertise on them could prove to be a big opportunity. What’s more, while other popular platforms such as Netflix operate on business models that don’t include third-party advertising, Hulu’s ad-supported tier stands out among the growing list of streamers. Therefore, at the risk of being hyperbolic, it seems that Hulu’s new self-service Ad Manager could be a game-changer. Currently the Ad Manager feature is in beta but interested business owners can RSVP to give it a try.


Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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