The above image was part of a pre-roll ad that aired several hours before Superbowl XLIV. In celebration of the game, Hulu launched a special section called AdZone which will feature Superbowl commercials after they air during the broadcast. Hulu visitors will be allowed to vote on their favorite ad. We all know that the ads are part of the Superbowl’s appeal and people expect them to be grandiose and entertaining. The game is continuously the most-watched telecast of the year and is pretty much immune to time-shifting and audience segmentation, issues that are haunting broadcast networks. The Hulu spot and the whole AdZone concept makes me wonder what kind of viewing behavior is Hulu encouraging?
Live blogging, Tweeting and chatting about shows as they air is becoming part of the viewing experience. For an event that is synonymous to HD, big screen TVs, it seems Hulu is reminding visitors to go online for a more involved, informed and personalized feeling. While Hulu is primarily a streaming video service and, the AdZone section does have some social network-like offerings, such as a message board. The site provides a space for reflection and discussion where viewers can feel actively involved in a cultural event.