Pizza Hut, in partnership with Hulu, announced it is launching in-stream purchasing, allowing viewers to order pizza and have it delivered without ever leaving their Hulu page.
Hulu advertisements interrupts a viewer’s video stream roughly every 10 minutes. This new advertising, called in-purchase streaming, will show a brief commercial for Pizza Hut then immediately present the option of ordering a pizza. Viewers will be able to choose options such as location, size and toppings on Hulu just as they would in a normal online order.
The video will resume immediately after ordering, and a pizza will be delivered to the viewer’s home.
Hulu Upfront, the annual conference in which executives present new content and technology, highlighted this announcement. It focused on the benefits for advertisers and what this means for Hulu customers.
Many have voiced concerns about how simple the process is. Jeffrey Bulloch, a mechanical engineering major from St. George, said if he was hungry and wanted a pizza he would just call and order it rather than wait around for an advertisement to pop up.
“I think that this enforces the stereotype of fat, lazy Americans. You don’t have to do anything,” Bulloch said. “You don’t even have to get off of your sofa.”
Cody Carpenter, a mechanical engineering major from Martinsburg, West Virginia, said this new form of advertising may inspire “lazy” behavior but its innovation should be incorporated into more advertising and marketing techniques.
“I think this is totally awesome and the first step in what could be a new way of advertising,” Carpenter said.
In-stream purchasing could be adopted by more advertisers if it is successful for Hulu. Advertisers have a difficult time reaching target audiences because the media is so specialized. This is the “next step in a natural progression for advertisers,” said Chris Cutri, associate professor of communications in advertising.
In-stream purchasing gives viewers just moments to make a decision. This marketing strategy, called impulse buying, is especially effective on college students. Cutri suggested that the “spontaneous and quick” quality of in-stream purchasing will do well among Hulu viewers.
“I don’t think that it would be too far fetched for a college student to see (the Pizza Hut advertisement) and say, ‘Bam, let’s do this,'” Cutri said.
While the campaign’s overall success still seems questionable, it looks like a trend other organizations are likely to venture into.
“This level of interactivity is something that everyone will explore. … Anything that engages the consumer and interacts with its audience is something you are going to see more and more of,” Cutri said.
In-stream purchasing will only be available on desktops initially, but Hulu expects to expand to other devices and products.