Roku’s upfront presentations for marketers are focused on making OTT advertising deals for major marketers more complementary with their linear TV schedules.
One key new upfront advertising tool for the set-top-box/smart TV platform company is offering an “incremental reach guarantee” for marketers.
Alison Levin, vice president of advertising sales and strategy for Roku, tells Television News Daily: “You will never pay for a household that you will also reach for linear [TV].”
In calculating OTT's incremental reach to linear TV, Levin says, Roku is using its massive ACR database -- automated content recognition data -- from smart TV sets. She says this includes synthesizing linear TV reach, modeled out for the U.S. “We have been doing this for quite some time.”
While Levin didn’t reveal the sample size of its reach measurement, she says Roku has one of the largest U.S. ACR data sets.
Roku has nearly 40 million monthly active users. There are 109.4 million smart TV users in the U.S., and by one estimate, more than 55% are connected TV users.
As part of this, Levin says Roku will look to further control frequency of airing commercial messaging -- something that has been a key request from marketers when it comes to OTT as well as linear TV.
Roku also intends to cut the pricing of OTT 15-second commercials for the inventory it controls.
Typically, media pricing for either 15-second or 30-second TV commercials has been exactly the same for many CTV/OTT platforms. Levin says this puts brands that only make 15-second commercials at a disadvantage -- “historically, OTT [pricing] has been prohibited to them.”
Levin did not disclose specific details of the new 15-second commercial cost, other than to say “it depends on the [media] holding company and upfront agreement for each client. It is significantly discounted versus the 30-second spot.”
Roku is also offering free creative services to marketers. For example, this can be for non-TV advertisers running messaging on social media who want to adapt video ads into OTT 15-second commercials.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Roku -- like many other media platforms -- witnessed softness in some advertising categories, particularly travel. Levin says that despite this challenge, Roku has seen continued growth in advertising sales.
Due to COVID-19, Roku started a “Home Together” campaign offering more free content on its sites including The Roku Channel. Roku also worked with 20 content app partners, giving consumers 30 days of free viewing through extended trials.
Levin estimates that from this promotion alone, some 8 to 10 new brands signed on to new deals with Roku.