Last month, Hulu began talking about a new form of advertising it had in the works that it called "pause ads." At the time, the company said it tested numerous versions of the format, but they all boiled down to showing subscribers some form of advertising every time they hit pause on a video in Hulu.
The final version of pause ads has now been decided, and they'll begin rolling out in the second quarter of 2019. When they do, pause ads will not play video or audio when you pause a show or movie in Hulu, but instead they will showcase static images with taglines from various brands.
Just as consumers’ viewing habits have evolved, their expectations for advertising have also changed. Viewers no longer accept an irrelevant, intrusive ad experience and appreciate when brands tell their stories in authentic and integrated ways. To stand out and continue engaging their target audiences, brands must rise to the challenge and flex their creative muscles to go beyond the traditional commercial break.
Enter Hulu’s new Pause Ad, which provides a non-intrusive, viewer-initiated ad experience that is both delighting to viewers and effective for brands.
Hulu says pause ads will be "contextually relevant" and have background gradients that change to distinguish the ad from the paused scene. The company calls the ads "non-disruptive", and the final form was decided upon after extensive user testing found that consumers preferred ads that don't play extensive audio and video when pausing movies and TV shows.
The first two brands to debut with pause ads will be Charmin and Coca-Cola. When pause ads roll out they will appear within "select content" in Hulu's streaming library, presumably for those subscribed to Hulu With Limited Commercials. In today's press release, an example of a pause ad is shown in the Hulu Original show Marvel's Runaways, so it appears that even Hulu's own original content will have the new ads.