Hulu offers ad-free episodes to reward its binge watchers

Hulu has announced a new type of advertisement experience that will reward viewers who binge-watch content. The company says it aims to help the brands that advertise on its platform reach subscribers who often watch several or more episodes, one after another, in long viewing sessions. What's in it for the binge-watchers? Hulu promises to show occasional ad-free episodes.

According to Hulu, around half of its ad-supported (cheaper plan) subscribers engage in binge-watching during their time on the platform. The activity isn't exclusive to Hulu — the majority of streaming customers in the United States reported binge-watching their favorite shows. When it comes to how Hulu tracks these customers, binge-watchers are people who watch at least three episodes from the same series during a single session.

Hulu claims its new 'ad experience' is the first of its kind in the industry — it is launching with Maker's Mark, Georgia-Pacific, and Kellogg's on board as advertisers. Binge-watchers will start seeing personalized ads from these companies that let them know the next episode will be ad-free — this, says Hulu, is a reward for binge-watching.

This reward will appear after the user has watched three episodes in a series during the same streaming session, giving them the incentive to keep watching the fourth episode. Of course, the experience isn't truly ad-free — subscribers are still seeing an advertisement as part of the message that lets them know the next episode won't have commercial breaks.

Still, the change is a welcome one. Hulu's ad-supported plan features somewhat lengthy commercial breaks in the same way as traditional television, which disrupts the episode and increases the amount of time spent working one's way through a show. The image above shows an example of the types of ads users will see as part of this new experience.