For anyone that has the streaming service Hulu Live, you may notice that, during election season, you will see many political ads. However, what you will not see are ads that show a certain political stance, like ones that advocate for or against sensitive issues like abortion and gun control. Since The Walt Disney Company purchased Hulu in 2019, they have not allowed the streamer to show ads that are either for or against certain political stances. That position came to the forefront when Democrats chastised the company for rejecting certain ads they wanted to place.
In an unexpected turn, Disney has now announced that Hulu will be changing its ad policy and will show political stance ads. Previously, it had only shown campaign ads, and even that was on a case-by-case basis. After its reversal decision, Disney released the following statement to The Hollywood Reporter:
“After a thorough review of ad policies across its linear networks and streaming platforms over the last few months, Disney is now aligning Hulu’s political advertising policies to be consistent with the Company’s general entertainment and sports cable networks and ESPN+. Hulu will now accept candidate and issue advertisements covering a wide spectrum of policy positions, but reserves the right to request edits or alternative creative, in alignment with industry standards.”
Before Disney’s decision to allow political issues to be aired on its Hulu streaming platform, #BoycottHulu was trending on Twitter. Democrats’ main complaint to Disney was that the ads were not permitted to air on Hulu, but were considered appropriate to run on a number of other platforms like YouTube, and even aired on ESPN and an ABC affiliate, both of which are owned by Disney. The ads rejected were submitted by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the Democratic Governors Association.
It should be noted that when Disney launches its new ad-supported tier of Disney+, it will not allow any political ads to air, along with not allowing any ads promoting alcohol. Disney had not said when it will launch the new ad-supported tier.