Hulu, the TV and movie streaming service, is planning to roll out a new and non-intrusive ad format that will appear on-screen when a user presses pause on their video.

Jeremy Helfand, the company’s VP and head of advertising platforms, revealed in a blogpost that Hulu’s new “Pause Ad” is being tested with two advertising partners, Coca-Cola and Charmin, and that consumers have given positive feedback.

“Our pause ad research found that consumers generally preferred ads that were subtle and non-intrusive, and that extensive audio and video when pausing was considered disruptive,” he said. “These insights led us to take our current approach to pause ads, and the research so far has shown a positive response from viewers.”

Scheduled to be launched in the second quarter of the year, the new pause ads are expected to be “supported by contextually relevant messaging” alongside “background gradient to distinguish the ad from the content scene”.

In other words, the ad will be like a translucent banner, or similar to a pop-up, that appears on the right-hand side of the screen, and importantly is supposed to have some relevance to the content that viewers were watching before pressing pause.

Speaking to TechCrunch, Helfand described the format as being like “a car billboard on the side of the road” and said it would work for brands because it would allow them to get their message across in a quick and simple way.

Another feature about Hulu’s pause ads is that they won’t appear until a few seconds after users press pause, so allowing them the time to read something on-screen, which is why they may have paused a video in the first place.

TechCrunch also reported that the pause ad won’t appear at all if a user fiddles with the controls – or if the ad is already on-screen, it will then disappear immediately. Likewise, the ad should disappear the moment play is pressed again.

Helfand said that Hulu is still working on the exact size and placement of the new ads, but that this would evolve over time. Similarly, the company hasn’t pinned down a precise pricing model, but it is expected to be part of a larger package for advertisers.

Sourced from Hulu, TechCrunch; additional content by WARC staff