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Hulu encourages app downloads with virtual reality, other nontraditional methods

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April 12, 2016

Hulu's virtual reality initiative

Hulu’s virtual reality initiative

NEW YORK – The biggest challenge in driving application downloads lies in finding unique experiences that drive interest while avoiding traditional cost-per-acquisition methods, according to an executive from Hulu at the 2016 IAB Mobile Marketplace.

During the session, App Discovery: Converting Consumers to Active Users on Mobile, the executive mentioned that Hulu is leveraging a wide range of content online and on mobile to reengage consumers that may already know about the company but lack knowledge about some of its benefits. One of the unique ways that Hulu is trying to drive app downloads is with the use of virtual reality.

“From our perspective, we view discovery as a major challenge,” said Noah Heller, vice president for audience development, data partnerships, and emerging technology at Hulu. “We make sure that our content is spread out all over the Web for the expressed purpose of bringing people back into our ecosystem.

“If you go to TV Guide and look for your favorite TV Show, odds are you are going to watch a clip or an episode on a Hulu player even though you are not on Hulu,” he said. “The core thesis is that you cannot rely on traditional methods to get people aware of your app, because traditional methods only work once you have the massive, massive scale.”

Hulu on mobile
While Hulu is a widely known name, many consumers lack knowledge regarding what signing up for a membership can actually bring them, such as the ability to view a wide range of television content from premium networks such as Showtime. The subscription service’s goal is to expand awareness regarding these services through a wide range of online and mobile interactions.

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The executive detailed how it is tapping into nontraditional initiatives such as virtual reality to get consumers aware of what it is doing. Hulu’s goal is to appeal to consumers through creative experiences in ways users can be directly involved.

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The virtual reality initiative allows users to interact with Hulu content in a completely immersive experience. The unique experience jumps out to consumers, as it is highly non-traditional and as of now, virtual reality is still relatively new to users.

Driving subscriptions
The memorable experience means that Hulu can serve something fun and interesting to users, while also putting its subscription service in front of consumers. The experience creates a lasting impression, and can boost subscription numbers.

“From our perspective, we are really trying to reengage people who may have known about us in the past but do not necessarily know now that you are able to watch Showtime and other content,” Mr. Heller said. “Content also happens to be what we do, so we are always getting creative with discovery.

“Things like our VR initiative and app cloud are experiments to crack open to try and get users aware of what you are and what you are doing,” he said. “They are very different from CPA and CPI type deals.”

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Brielle Jaekel is staff writer on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer, New York. Reach her at brielle@mobilemarketer.com.

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