Roku talks up originals, flexibility and measurement in NewFront pitch

The streamer touted its exclusive content and Nielsen partnership.

(Credit: Getty Images)
(Credit: Getty Images)

Roku, a growing behemoth in connected TV, virtually presented its NewFront pitch on Monday, putting a spotlight on original programming and its OneView ad buying platform. 

In March, Roku acquired Nielsen’s Advanced Video Advertising business, giving it automated content recognition and dynamic ad insertion capabilities that allow it to better target and frequency cap ads across apps on its platform. The pair also agreed to incorporate Nielsen’s measurement products, still the de facto currency of TV ad buying, into Roku’s OneView ad buying platform.

With the deal, OneView is now one of the first ad-buying platforms to provide Nielsen reach and frequency reporting by age and gender across all four screens: linear TV, TV streaming, desktop and mobile.

“It’s been a holy grail forever for buyers to be able to have a single metric of reaching frequency across all channels. It’s been hard to do,”  Nielsen CEO David Kenny said during the presentation. “There’s been a cacophony of measurements out there. And I think together we’re bringing that to something that’s manageable, consistent and scalable.”

Buyers can also access inventory from the Roku Channel, the streamer’s free, ad-supported TV service, exclusively through OneView when buying programmatically. 

Another area that Roku focused on was flexibility, which is top of mind for marketers after many scrambled to cancel upfront commitments last year during the pandemic. Roku will allow marketers to adjust 100% of their campaigns within two days along with the ability to move the entire buy across lines of business.

Roku also talked up the value of its audience, which has a median age of 39 compared to 60+ for broadcast networks. Sticking to one of its main selling points, Roku also shared that more than half of its users have no pay-TV subscriptions. Overall, linear TV reach declined by 24% for adults over 18, according to Roku. 

Many cord-cutters subscribe to SVOD services such as Netflix and Disney+, making The Roku Channel, which comes embedded on Roku devices, an attractive place to reach streaming audiences. 

Roku also has a tempting first-party data set, as changes in data collection disrupt the marketing world.

“We take privacy really seriously,” Kristina Shepard. head of agency partnerships & national brand team lead at Roku, told Campaign US. ’We have a fully opt-out model on the device. Partners that have first party data are going to be the most sought after in terms of advertiser demand. If you don't have a first party relationship, it's like having a passport without a name. It's giving you one piece of a much bigger puzzle.”

It wouldn’t be a NewFront pitch without content, and Roku touted its original and exclusive programming, which will be built off the back of its acquisition of the rights to Quibi’s library in January. Roku will revive Quibi shows including “This Old House” and “Ask This Old House,” rebranding them as Roku Originals. 

Roku also said its new branded content studio, launched in March, has signed on spirits company Maker’s Mark as its first client.

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