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Published on January 31st, 2019 | by Brad Gibson


Hulu starts showing ads during pause breaks

Hulu confirmed Wednesday it will soon begin running ads that appear after a subscriber presses the pause button on their remote control for its streaming shows. BESTAppleTV has confirmed that despite Hulu saying the ads would start this spring, the messages are already showing up on the service today beginning with advertisements for Coca-Cola.

Unlike traditional TV ad breaks that interrupt viewing, Hulu says its new “non-disruptive advertising” is relevant messaging. The new ads will start with messages from Coke and toilet-paper brand Charmin.

The pause ads will not play video or audio when subscribers pause a show or movie on Hulu, but instead will appear on screen over a portion of the frozen scene of a program a few seconds after the playback stops, to ensure the viewer isn’t trying to rewind or fast-forward. The ads will showcase static images with taglines from various brands.

The ads are being designed to fit contextually with the program that’s being watched, said the company, and will use distinct colors to differentiate them from programming. In one example for Charmin, the ads seem to know the viewer might be heading to a bathroom break.

Hulu claims the “delightful” new ads were a hit with customers during testing over the past few months. Reports began to surface in early December of 2018 of Hulu testing numerous versions of ads with subscribers.

Hulu did not reveal what tiers it is adding the promos to and a company spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

A similar advertising-like program by Netflix back in August was met with subscriber angst and was never adopted on a wider scale. Netflix executives still claim that there is not currently a plan to run traditional commercial advertisements on its service. 

Hulu with Live TV launched in May 2016 and is jointly owned by Fox, Disney/ABC, Comcast/NBC Universal and Time Warner. The app is available for free in the App Store.

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About the Author

Brad is co-founder and editor-in-chief of He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as,,,, and He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the AOL, the BBC, Associated Press, and United Press International.

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