Hulu’s Super Bowl buzz is wearing off a little. Despite new ads from Eliza Dushku and Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane, fewer people watched vids at Hulu.com in March than they did in February, says Nielsen.
Unique visitors to Hulu were down more than 5% month-over-month, to 8.9 million in March from from 9.5 million in shorter February. But monthly streams — where Hulu can show ads and make money — are up a healthy 13% to 349 million in March, from 309 million in February*.
All in all, good news for Hulu. After Hulu advertised on the Super Bowl, we expected a lot of people would check out the site once or twice, then shrug their shoulders and go back to cable. (February saw a Super Bowl spike in uniques of 33%, an unsustainable number.) Streams, the more important number, continues to grow at a steady clip as the site gets sticky with its target audience.
If anything, the problem for Hulu remains growing so fast the service is creating a glut of ad inventory. With streams growing 13% a month, it’s been estimated Hulu is only selling 60% of its supply, filling the rest of its ad slots with public service announcements.
* It’s worth nothing that Nielsen and rival firms like comScore have wildly divergent viewership stats — comScore pegged Hulu’s Feb uniques at 34.7 million, more than triple Nielsen’s 9.5 million count. So take this at face value: One estimate from one source. But the Nielsen numbers are probably directionally valid, at very least.
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