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Netflix's ad-free model is 'un-American', jokes Hulu’s Peter Naylor

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By Nesh Pillay | Reporter

June 8, 2015 | 2 min read

Hulu's senior vice president of ad sales Peter Naylor and Dentsu Aegis' Michael Law have locked horns over the effectiveness of Netflix's ad-free model.

In a question-answer exchange at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) Digital Video conference in New York today (8 June) Law, who is executive vice president of Dentsu’s video investment department, mentioned Netflix while speaking about the increased need for branded content. Consumers, he said, are moving toward ad-free platforms like Netflix.

Hulu’s Naylor responded by questioning whether that’s a viable model.

“That’s a lot of screen time without commercials,” he said. “Shouldn’t people be concerned? It’s un-American to me.”

Currently both of Hulu’s subscription plans, paid and premium, come with long, in-show commercial breaks, timed similarly to the commercial breaks in traditional television.

Law responded that Netflix’s massive audiences cannot be ignored and that advertisers need to be creative when marketing to them.

“I don’t think you need to be concerned, but you just need to be creative in how you use that screen time,” he said. “While I can’t put an ad in ‘House of Cards,’ there may be other ways to talk to that person [watching that show].”

Throughout the conversation, the pair, particularly Law, echoed a sentiment that seemed central to this year’s conference: when it comes to advertising in digital video, branded content is key.

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