Is Hulu Winning the Mind Share Battle?

Bobby Tulsiani [Posted by Bobby Tulsiani]

I was watching 24 on Fox last night, and even though I was fast forwarding through commercials I noticed the Hulu ad from the Superbowl was on again.  We'll save the discussion if brand recall works during fast forward mode for another day, and instead focus on Hulu's brand awareness campaign.

The Hulu folks have been gaining momentum - Nielsen recently blogged about how Hulu generated a fair amount of buzz after the Superbowl ad ran, increasing brand mentions online by 259%.  In conversation, I do hear people mentioning - oh "I'll Hulu that later" (granted I hang out with a pretty dorky TV crowd).  All of it got me wondering is Hulu winning the early mind share battle - and does it matter if they do take the early lead?

To play devil's advocate, here a couple points why a big awareness campaign may not matter:

  • Ask Pets.com about big Superbowl campaigns to generate awareness.
  • First mover mind share may matter less for full length TV online compared to categories like auctions (eBay) or video uploads (YouTube) that have far stronger network effects.
  • Hulu may build category awareness for full legnth TV online, but have competitors (Joost, Sling, etc) draft off that free publicity.

Even without the splashy ad campaign, I think Hulu is defintely out in front due to a relentless focus on its end users.  But the race is far from over, and its a topic I'll be covering closely this year.  Would love to hear your thoughts.