Soon to be public, Hulu Plus will still be Hulu, plus a heavier ad load

If you're thinking the new Hulu Plus subscription service, rumored to be rolling out to the public in October, will have fewer ads than the free Hulu service does, think again. The video service, which has a $9.99 monthly price tag, is looking for--and finding, apparently--sponsors who'll pay $2 million for packages of ads that will give them increased visibility to viewers of complete series of TV shows, says the New York Post.

Hulu Plus, which recently announced it soon would be available on Roku and TiVo, in addition to PCs, some gaming platforms, soon-to-be released connected TVs, and the iPad, will be coming out of beta with the complete back catalogs of shows like Glee, 30 Rock, Modern Family, as well as current seasons of the shows. In many cases, viewers will have access to episodes the morning after they air.

The company, a joint venture between NBC Universal, Disney and News Corp., may be using the sponsorships in a bid to sweeten a rumored initial public offering, says the Post. Hulu last year had revenues of $100 million and is expected to hit the $250 million mark this year. Sources have said Hulu would seek $2 billion in an IPO.

In recent months, Hulu has increased its ad load for each episode it carries, presumably looking for the point at which consumers push back. As a result, in the most recently released comScore rankings, for August, Hulu generated the highest number of video ad impressions at 790 million, far beyond No. 2 BrightRoll Video Network with 469 million ad views. ComScore said that in August. Hulu reached 27.1 million unique users who streamed nearly 1.4 billion videos, allowing it to set CPMs in the range of the broadcast networks' Web video plays, up to $50.

Demand for ad spots on some hits that appear on the Hulu site has prompted network partners to pull back ad inventory from Hulu to use on their own, effectively shutting Hulu out. Hulu had been shut out of ads for The Office and 30 Rock, and apparently had only 15 percent of other shows' ad inventory available to sell, prompting Hulu execs to worry they might have access to ad inventory for older episodes and would see revenues erode.

For more:
- see the Post article

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