Sunday, August 7, 2022

Hulu changes policy to allow political ads after backlash

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After a quick condemnation from Internet Democrats, Hulu has informed the public that it intends to allow advertising on political issues, its parent company, The Walt Disney Co, said in a statement.

On Monday the Washington Post reported on how the Disney-owned streaming platform failed to run political ads bought on July 15 by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Democratic Governors Association, covering issues such as gun control, abortion and the climate crisis treated.

This is despite the fact that Democratic groups have been successful in getting these paid slots on other networks and online platforms, including Facebook, YouTube, Roku, NBCUniversal, ESPN and a Disney-owned ABC affiliate in Philadelphia.

The story caused the hashtags #boycotthulu and #cancelhulu to quickly trend on Twitter, and on Wednesday prompted the Walt Disney Co to review its ad-buying policy and release a statement confirming that it supports Hulu in A Disney spokesman said the future would handle the same set of broadcast standards as the company’s sister networks, such as ABC and ESPN vanity fair.

“Following a thorough review of advertising policies across its linear networks and streaming platforms over the past several months, Disney is now aligning Hulu’s advertising policies to align with the company’s broader entertainment and sports cable networks and ESPN+,” the spokesperson said.

“Hulu now accepts candidates and publishes ads that cover a wide range of political positions, but reserves the right to request changes or alternative creative in accordance with industry standards.”

Hulu has offered a tiered subscription service since 2015, running about 7.4 ads per show and 12 ads per hour in its original offerings and its licensed series at about 10.1 ads per show and 13.8 ads per hour, according to Media Radar.

Streaming services that offer ad-supported tiers have grown in popularity among tech giants in recent years, and have proven even more lucrative.

In the fourth quarter of 2021, Media Radar reported that the companies between Discovery’s Discovery Plus, AT&T’s HBO Max, Hulu, Paramount’s Paramount Plus and Comcast’s Peacock generated $438 million in ad spend across all platforms.

And during the year, the five platforms accepted money to run ads from 5,630 advertisers, which placed nearly 500,000 promotions in the second half of the year alone, Next TV reported.

Ad-free experiences on streaming platforms appear to be more of a thing of the past, as original movers in the industry like Netflix have even announced that the experience central to its brand will no longer be for some when it launches a cheaper ad-supported plan, the Expected to arrive on the server in early 2023.

As more streaming services move into the territory of ad-supported subscriptions, the issue of monitoring ads is likely to become a key issue for tech companies as they navigate who and what they’re accepting ad revenue from, and the messages they’re willing to deliver in front of theirs paying subscribers.

Disney+ has already made big announcements in this space, stating that its ad-supported service, due to launch in late 2022, will not run political ads or promotions for alcohol and competing streamers.

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