Consumers Weigh These 4 Points When Considering a Streaming Service Subscription

Plus, how people are watching Hulu during the pandemic

Hulu's Julie DeTraglia (l.) spoke about strategic audiences with Cheddar anchor Nora Ali at Thursday’s NewFronts.
Headshot of Jason Lynch

With more streaming services to choose from than ever, and even more on the way, consumers consider four key points when deciding whether to subscribe to another OTT offering.

According to Julie DeTraglia, evp and head of research and insights at Hulu, consumers focus on content (both original and library programming), the user experience (and making sure it’s seamless), having a connection with both the content and the brand, as well as price—which is less about how expensive the service is, and more about the value consumers thinks they are getting from it. (Adweek expanded on these insights last month with our deep dive into how to build the perfect streaming service.)

DeTraglia spoke about strategic audiences during a fireside at Thursday’s NewFronts.

Although Hulu launched on desktop computers only in its official 2008 debut, 80% of Hulu viewing now occurs on a connected TV device, according to DeTraglia. While people have been sheltering at home since March, Hulu has seen more devices per account than ever accessing the service, though most Hulu viewing continues to occur in the living room.

Hulu has leveraged its first-party data about usage to create ad formats that best fit with the way its viewers watch. That’s how it created its binge and pause ads—both of which rolled out last fall and were “two of our biggest successes over the last year,” said DeTraglia.

The streaming service found that subscribers to its limited ads tier pause programs 35 million times each day, while half of the top 100 shows on Hulu are binge-watched, defined as three or more episodes of the same series at once.

Family co-viewing is more likely to occur with on-demand programming, as opposed to a live, linear environment, said DeTraglia. That’s been especially true during the pandemic, as family members first agree on what to watch together before streaming a movie or TV series.

In addition to traditional TV advertisers like Fortune 500 companies, Hulu has seen an influx of direct-to-consumer brands in recent years. Those brands “grew up in a world that allowed for more attribution and data,” said DeTraglia, but want to use the TV screen “to build a brand and tell a story in the way only television can.”

DeTraglia and her team recently wrapped a study about a demo they have deemed “Generation Stream”—speaking with people ages 13-54 about their streaming habits—to get more information about what motivates and interests them. Hulu showcased that study during its own NewFronts presentation on Monday.

@jasonlynch Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.