While Hulu was not the first site to serve up full-length television shows or create new advertising units, it now dominates the emerging market for ad-supported TV and movie streaming. It emerged in public beta form one year ago with 10 advertisers, made its official debut in March, and now counts more than 100 sponsors, from General Motors to Old Spice.
The site has grown steadily, providing 142 million streams to 6.3 million unique viewers in September, Nielsen Online reported last week. Hulu is now the sixth-most-popular online video brand in the United States, surpassing the online video networks operated by ESPN, CNN, MTV and Disney.
The half-hour comedies that are so popular on Hulu — “Family Guy” from Fox and “The Office” from NBC — have an average of eight minutes of commercial time on TV. On Hulu, where the sitcoms are especially popular, each show averages about two minutes of ads.