The Digital Disrupters Are Now The Big Kids on the Block
Hulu Up Front Week in NYC
Four days in Manhattan on business… a would-be dream of mine when I was in my 20’s, and surprisingly still exciting in my forties.
Also fun in my 20’s as a newbie in the marketing/advertising business were all the network season launch media events in Toronto (maybe not the size of the Up Front events in NYC but still fun)… where us bright-eyed industry kids would gather to see the season’s top shows (like “Friends” and “Seinfeld” back in the mid 90’s) and have a blast at the open bar. In our twenties we thought we’d found utopia – free drinks just to see the fall lineup. How could this be? Ah, the old days of big networks and huge ad budgets.
Hulu Up Front
Yesterday I had the opportunity to sit in on Hulu’s Up Front presentation… no, let’s call it a spectacle… for the US media buying community. While digital disruption is not new to me and I’m a huge advocate off tech advancements when they improve the consumer experience, I was struck by just how much the tables have turned and how the digital new kids of yesteryear are now the big kids on the block. Hulu’s media launch was like a rock concert (if rock concerts started at 9 AM)… the most spectacular stage and light show, incredibly scripted business leaders, and some big names on stage promoting Hulu: Seth Meyers, JJ Abrams, James Franco, Amy Poehler and closed by none other that Jerry Seinfeld.
Consumer Driven Viewership
The platform that serves up TV “repeats” is now a mega player… and a thorn in the side for the networks. Viewers can watch what they want, when they want and how they want… compared to the slotted programming of cable TV… this is all viewer driven. Their popularity has grown to where they’re now even producing their own proprietary shows and negotiating exclusivity with other content (to compete against Netflix). And they’re spending money to lure in traditional media revenues which companies are willing to dole out for the elusive youth market – Hulu enjoys an average viewership of 33 years old – you won’t find that with NBC.
Data Driven Programming
Their platform is completely data driven – they have real stats that validate who is watching and what they’re watching (not inferred data… real data). They can offer up programmatic media to your exact, ideal target. This is media planning at its best. What they and others are doing is quite simple: They have redefined the ad media model. And the connective tissue that makes this so current is the data of consumer likes and usage patterns. This data impacts what content they market to you… as well as what content they need to find or develop themselves to meet the demand of the viewer. Considering how you can view Hulu (like Netflix) on all your devices including your home TV, this is the future of media and explains why the likes of Seth Meyers and Jerry Seinfeld are out on stage engaging with the industry. And amazing production… and an impressive display of the new digital content players of today.
The rest of my day was packed with meetings after the Hulu festivities. When my final meeting over dinner was finished, I went back to my room and turned on the TV. I looked at my watch (no, I looked at my iPhone to confirm the time) and realized I had 28 minutes until the evening news… and questioned why I couldn’t serve it up at the exact moment I wanted it. Oh yeah, this is cable TV… so I turned off the TV and opened up my iPad and found what I needed, when I needed it, on my terms.
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The last time I had cable was in my college dorm room because they forgot to disconnect it after our 1 month free trial, and the last time I paid for it was with my daily chores at home while I was still in high school. For a device that revolutionized entertainment and mass media, you might ask how I could possibly live without it?