Hulu CEO Jason Kilar gave one of the best presentations at NewTeeVee‘s fantastic NewTeeVee Live Conference in San Francisco yesterday. It might’ve actually been more product demo than industry perspective and analysis, but that’s okay. Enough people are interested with Hulu’s technology, strategy, and content that a 45-minute rundown of its approach to the business was well worth the watch.

Kilar equates the way Hulu allows easy access to premium content with how Starbucks allows easy access to premium coffee. He also constantly obsesses over every pixel on the screen, trying to keep his site as clean as Diseneyland’s main street.

But the most interesting part of Kilar’s talk was when he showcased some of Hulu’s subtle features that contribute to the site’s “brain-spray of awesome.”

Do You Like the Ad You’re Watching?

See the thumbs up and thumbs down in the upper left-hand corner of the screenshot above? Those appear when advertisements appear before and during the premium content you’re trying to watch. If you click on one of them, Hulu takes that into account next time it serves you an ad, presumably which could make future ad more tolerables or even worthwhile.  For now, these provide metric indicators for Hulu’s advertising partners.

Choose Your Advertisement

Before watching a TV show or movie on Hulu, you’re now often given a choice of how you’d like to offset the costs of that programming – longer trailer at the beginning and commercial free, or regularly scheduled commercial breaks.

Yes, you’re still watching an ad, but allowing you to make a choice of what kind of ad to watch is an empowering process, and one that makes the interruption just a little more bearable.

Plus, on the splash page where you indicate your decision, there’s another ad. You’ve been empowered and Hulu gets more impressions. Smart move.

Tailored Thumbnail Images

Go on Hulu and search for “Natalie Portman Rap” and in the results you’ll find the image above. Now search for “Andy Samberg.” See the image below? They link to the same video.

In a backend process unseen by the the user, Hulu provides thumbnail images that match the context of your search. A neat twist that makes the search results more relevant and has the potential to increase clicks.

Check out Jason Kilar’s entire presentation from NewTeeVee Live here.

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