“Hulu will now accept applicants and post ads covering a wide range of political positions, but reserves the right to request edits” or other changes, “in accordance with industry standards,” the statement said.
The statement did not specifically mention gun or abortion ads, but such ads have previously aired on other Disney-owned cable networks, such as ESPN.
Democrats, angered by the rejection of two ads this month, staged a public pressure campaign on social media this week, asking supporters to speak out against Hulu’s policies. The protests were a hot topic on Twitter on Tuesday, with several accounts publicly announcing that they planned to cancel their service unless Hulu changed its policy.
Mosaic Communications, a Democratic advertising company, said in a press release on Tuesday that it would stop buying candidate ads with Hulu until the policy changes. Julie Norton, a partner at the firm, said Wednesday’s announcement appeared to resolve her concerns.
“It looks like they’re trying to do the right thing at this point,” she said. “We certainly applaud them for moving in the right direction.”
The Washington Post reported on Monday that Hulu has a policy against posting content deemed controversial. Like other digital providers, it is not bound by the Communications Act of 1934, a law that requires television networks to provide politicians with equal access to the airwaves.
Hulu has changed its approach to candidate advertising in recent weeks, after a similar backlash from Democratic candidates. Suraj Patel, a candidate for Congress in New York, publicly protested the rejection of one of his ads, which mentioned gun violence, abortion and climate change, and showed images of the January 6, 2021 attack against the US Capitol.
Hulu, which had an ad policy that was more permissive of contestants than issues, initially allowed it to run the ad after replacing a reference to climate change and removing images of violence outside the Capitol.
Then, on Monday, after the Post’s article was published, Hulu told its campaign that the version of the ad originally rejected by the company would be allowed to run. A person familiar with the decision at Hulu, who spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to speak officially, said Hulu had decided to accept the once-rejected announcement before Monday but did not had not communicated to Patel.
The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the Democratic Governors Association attempted to buy joint abortion and gun ads with Hulu on July 15, as well as identical placements on a Disney-related ABC affiliate in Philadelphia and on the company’s ESPN cable sports channel. The Hulu commercials never aired, unlike the others.
“Hulu’s censorship of the truth is outrageous, offensive, and another step down a dangerous path for our country,” the executive directors of the three committees — Christie Roberts, Tim Persico and Noam Lee — said in a statement provided to the Post. Monday. . “Voters have a right to know the facts about MAGA’s Republican agenda on issues like abortion — and Hulu is doing the American people a huge disservice by preventing voters from learning the truth about the tally of the GOP or refusing to allow these issues to even be discussed. ”
Tracking firm Kantar Media projects $7.8 billion will be spent on political advertising for the 2022 midterm election season, with about $1.2 billion on over-the-top television spending and Connected, a category that includes ads served through streaming services and premium set-top boxes such as Roku. Streaming spending, according to Kantar, is “the new darling of politics.”
But streaming services have proven more difficult for political buyers to negotiate. Disney has told advertisers that political and alcohol ads will not be accepted on Disney Plus, a separate streaming service, when it launches an ad-supported version later this year. Netflix announced this month that it was developing an ad-supported version with Microsoft, although the company did not elaborate on its advertising policies.