Last week I covered an AdWeek article on the challenge brand marketers face when seeking healthy online environments. I said it’s important to know where to look for good brand placements online, which led some folks to respond and ask me… “Where?”

Coming up with the right placements, at the right cost, is the bulk of a media planner’s day, and there’s no “one-size-fits-all” answer. All that said, a great environment that comes to mind is Hulu. Not only do they offer high-profile, quality content (mostly televison shows with a sparse but growing movie collection), but they aggressively maintain an ad market that would comfort even the most traditional brand man.

Part of Hulu’s strategy here has been to keep CPM’s extremely high and hold the line. Rather than maximize the value of every impression, which would mean auctioning longtail inventory at much lower rates, Hulu prefers to fill unsold space with PSA’s (sometimes lots of PSA’s), without curbing on price. In the short-term this has reduced revenue to some degree, but the larger picture is that Hulu keeps out a lot of low budget direct-response advertisers who are flooding most online outlets.

The result? Brand advertisers, who have the big budgets to deal with high rates, are forced to build direct relationships (as there are no third-parties auctioning off large swaths of Hulu ad space). At the same time, the strategy makes the environment itself more hospitable for brand marketers.

In the early days many folks were skeptical of Hulu’s decision to forsake revenue from longtail inventory. More recently those opinions have shifted, and Hulu’s potential sale has become cheerful news for the whole content industry.

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