News Corp. wants Hulu to add more inventory


The hope is to add inventory to let Fox sell richer cross-platform ad options: As it negotiates its next contract with Hulu, News Corp. is pushing for the ability to run a greater number of ads in a portion of the Fox programs available on the site. Hulu, since launching in 2007, has kept lighter ad loads in the mix than what viewers get on TV.

Under the terms being discussed, Fox hopes to add more commercials to the Hulu inventory it’s already allowed to sell to its own ad clients, according to an AdAge story. The idea is for Fox to be able to sell more cross-platform packages which include Hulu.

To do so, it needs to get Hulu to agree to allow more ads, but not as many as what’s seen on TV.

Hulu’s media owners also include Disney and NBC Universal, so any changes could affect inventories on their content channels as well. While Hulu sells much of its own inventory, the networks are allowed to sell some as well.

At Fox’s recent upfront presentation, Toby Byrne, the network’s president/sales, said Fox planned “to extend the ability of your ads to travel with our content across screens to create a unified audience experience regardless of platform.” Fox’s ad-sales staff, he added, “will provide the one-stop shopping solution for your ads to run on-air as well as online with scale on Hulu.”

RBR-TVBR observation: As more viewers cut the cord for online TV watching and/or just prefer to watch online because of convenience, there’s more and more of a reason for advertisers to follow these migrating eyeballs. The story mentioned The CW online last year upped its ad load close to what’s on TV. Nonetheless, unique viewers of full episodes on increased 55% season to date as of 5/19; the amount of time viewers spent watching online shows increased 175% this season; and 94% of the ads in full episodes streamed online were watched to completion. What better reason not to add more online ads? Besides, if you don’t populate the online streams with more advertisers, viewers end up seeing the same ad or ads throughout the show (annoying). Nielsen will soon measure ratings across TV and the web and will be able to provide commercial ratings for online ads as long as they mirror what’s on the broadcast feed.