Of all the Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals this year, the one I took note of was Hulu offering its limited commercials streaming plan for only 99 cents a month. That is a bazillion percent discount from the regular price of $7.99 per month. As they said in the marketing: “Season’s streaming.” (By the way, this is not an ad for Hulu.)

Why would Hulu practically give away its service?

Simple: to swiftly boost their subscriber base. We all know the “streaming wars” are heating up, many platforms are fighting to be No. 2 to Netflix. Before the Thanksgiving Weekend deal, Hulu had about 20MM subscribers, a smidge less than Amazon Prime Video’s estimated 25MM streamers. Netflix has close to 60MM in the US. I would love to find out how many new subs were gained from the 99 cents offer. Of course, some people (I won’t name names) who were current subscribers may have opened a new account with a different email address and canceled the old one. So there will be some duplication in the numbers. 

The fight to gain and retain an audience is fierce for the streaming/OTT market; each platform is spending billions on original content production and marketing. While we media observers may assume everyone already streams, approximately 30% of US households do not yet have access to a streaming device or smart TV. There are net new streamers to attract and a 99-cent price point could be an effective lure. 

Why else was this wise for Hulu?

Answer: Advertising revenue! Hulu is the only major streaming platform to run paid advertising during or before content. By increasing the number of subs they enlarge their addressable audience base, gather more consumer data to put together smarter ad packages and make more money! Any loss from $7.99 to $.99/month per new user is a simple investment – they will make so much more from advertising revenue. 

How I heard about the offer stood out

I did not see an ad campaign, I was not targeted by sponsored social posts or banner ads that followed me. Not even an email. Nope, I got wind of this deal from regular people talking about it on Twitter.  It made it almost seem like a secret deal. Then the Hulu brand account, which I follow, retweeted many of the mentions, giving the offer legitimacy without going full bore into advertising/promotion zone. It made the Hulu brand appear more at one with consumers in a way that no carefully worded promotional message could do.

All around it was a super smart move for Hulu (again not an ad, but I’m open). Do you agree?

Write A Comment