In early December, word surfaced that Hulu was considering a new type of advertisement: one that appears when the viewer pauses the video they’re watching. The company has proceeded with introducing that new ad type, though it doesn’t work quite the way it was originally tipped. Rather than presenting a video advertisement, Hulu is dishing up a static ad on the screen when a video is paused.
In its present form, Hulu has two subscription plans: a (mostly) commercial free tier that costs more, and a cheaper ad-supported tier that shows some commercial breaks. These advertisements come in video form, but the new pause ads are different. Hulu has elected to show static advertisements when videos are paused to, in part, avoid confusing customers who may be annoyed by a video pause ad.
Static image-based pause advertisements make more sense than video advertisements, which could confuse viewers who may think the video failed to pause. As well, it’s unlikely that advertisers are eager to pay for video advertisements that would play while the viewer is away from the screen — after all, they’re probably not pausing the video unless they’re focusing on something else.
Viewers who pause the video will see a static advertisements appear overlaid on the right side of their device screen, where it’ll sit akin to a printed ad. Viewers will see the ad when they pause the video and they’ll see the ad when they return to resume it. All the while, the video itself remains properly paused, avoiding the annoyance of auto-playing video ads.
According to Hulu, which recently spoke with TechCrunch, the advertisements will only show up after a few seconds when it is clear the user isn’t simply scrubbing through the video; also, the ads won’t appear on content with a TV-MA rating. Hulu subscribers can expect to see these new static advertisements appear on some videos starting in the second quarter of this year.