Video streaming service Hulu, which relies on advertising for a good chunk of its revenue, has found another way to make money: selling pizza. Sort of. The company this week announced a deal with Pizza Hut (YUM) that will allow viewers watching Hulu on their PCs to order for pickup or delivery “without ever leaving the Hulu environment,” otherwise known as the couch.
This is the first “in-stream purchase” partnership for Hulu, which made $1 billion in revenue in 2013 and surpassed 5 million subscribers. The video company declined to comment on details of the deal, though Pizza Hut spokesman Doug Terfehr said in an e-mail, “Our partnerships functions like a lot of advertising deals, but it was a cooperative effort to bring an experience that was fitting for the Hulu user.”
The Pizza Hut ads are rolling out later this year on Hulu and Hulu Plus on desktops, and probably on additional devices later. The companies are working out the details of how the mashup will work. This is a type of advertising for Pizza Hut and the network, but the ad will be designed to enable an order right then and there. Terfehr described one possibility: “As you watch your favorite show on Hulu, a Pizza Hut icon will display and enable you to place an order quickly while your show is paused.” It will be similar to ordering on the Pizza Hut app, and the full menu will be available, he added. Viewers can pick up where they left off after their order is placed.
This might seem unnecessary at first. It’s true that ordering pizza—now possible to do online, via app, or with an actual telephone call—is already about as easy as it gets. Then again, no one ever lost money underestimating the American couch potato’s desire to do as little as possible.