Is Hulu adding to difficulties in branding? (TV stations commentary)

Estimated read time: 4 minutes


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I love Hulu and watch it often. I follow sports teams, watch other shows I traditionally watched on TV and appreciate that I can watch it on my phone while traveling. Hulu also got me thinking about the difficulties in branding when it comes to TV stations.

Interestingly, Hulu also is changing how I think of TV channels – basically not think of the channels at all. At least this is happening for me. It may be adding to the difficulties in branding that are common.

  • At the very least we should be remembering the brand.
  • At the best it stands for something and we buy from it partially for that and because the product rocks.

How YouTube owns my “TV prime time”


That Hulu is disrupting video consumption and really traditional TV show watching is nothing new! But it might also be adding to the difficulties in branding marketers already face. Let me be clear: I love Hulu, Netflix and really all on-demand services. We switched from satellite TV four years ago!

How TV channel brands have changed

tv listings of nfl games by channelIt used to be that I would look at the newspaper to see what channel would have a game on. The same also happened the other day as my wife asked me what channel the Iowa Hawkeyes game would be on?

“No idea. I just go to the Hulu app and they know the Hawks are one of my teams and it’s right there.”

And honestly, I couldn’t even tell you for sure what games the Hawkeyes have been on this year.

I think FS1, though I thought they used to be on Big Ten Network. What does FS1 stand for? Fox Sports 1? I think that’s also the channel that has been showing the Bundesliga games of my hometown team – Fortuna Dusseldorf.

When I open the Hulu app it shows me what teams are playing and have games available. Or in the case of this NFL weekend it said no games are available and that I should set some teams:

Setting a favorite sports team on Hulu

When you look at the screen showing all the games, it actually does show you what channels they are on. And a lot of online content still does come from traditional TV channels.

NFL games on Hulu

But, we used to say:

“Turn on ESPN! The game is about to start.”

Now we say:

“Click on the game to start it.”

“Clicked. Where do we want to watch it? Living room?”


Branding in a omni-channel world

Of course, distributing content on all these channels is highly customer-focused and long-term can help us reach a wider audience.

Podcast distribution has a similar problem. Yes, I want to push out my podcast on 8 channels in addition to my website. But I have to make sure people know what show they are listening to, who I am and even where they can connect with me.

At the least, I should remind them to subscribe to my podcast if they haven’t – on whatever channel they are listening on!

I try to make a point saying who I am, where people can connect with me and quote my blog. In fact, quoting things that remind people of other areas where your content is seems helpful:

Of course, there’s always a fine line of overdoing that and overselling your brand.


This article from a preview talk and workshop I gave dives deeper into how to tow that line:

I struggled not to be overly promoting my workshop in a preview session…


Anyway, I didn’t write this to say Hulu, TV stations or anyone is doing anything wrong. It’s more observation than judgment. That branding, content and really everything is getting harder and harder with crowded fields is not a secret.

Evolving how we brand and stay relevant should be top of mind to all of us contenteers. Step 1 is to realize what has changed and then we can determine how to change something – as necessary.


Podcast: What should we call our readers?