Roku To Acquire Nielsen's Advanced Video Advertising Business, Expand Addressable TV Footprint

Roku has agreed to acquire Nielsen’s Advanced Video Advertising (AVA) business, which includes Nielsen’s video automatic content recognition (ACR) and dynamic ad insertion (DAI) technologies. 

The acquisition will accelerate Roku’s launch of an end-to-end DAI solution with TV programmers and expand Nielsen’s addressable measurement smart TV/devices footprint to nearly 100 million, according to the companies. 

Combining Nielsen’s AVA technology with Roku’s ad technology and scale will deliver the benefits of TV streaming advertising to traditional TV, according to Louqman Parampath, vice president of product management at Roku. 

“Roku will bring the promise of DAI to the market for the first time at scale — providing better targeting and measurement for advertisers, creating easy integration and additional revenue opportunities for programmers’ ad sales teams, and improving the TV experience for viewers,” he said. 

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The transaction, which will transfer ownership of Nielsen ACR and DAI patents to Roku, is expected to close in Q2 2021. AVA’s employees will join Roku.

In addition, Nielsen and Roku are forming a strategic partnership to integrate complementary Nielsen ad and content measurement products into the Roku platform, as part of the in-development Nielsen One cross-media measurement solution. 

The long-term agreement will employ Nielsen’s Total Ad Ratings (TAR) on the Roku platform. Roku’s media sales and ad-buying platform, OneView, will natively integrate Nielsen “always on” Digital Ad Ratings (DAR) for advertisers. Roku will also enable publishers to implement Nielsen Digital Content Ratings (DCR). 

“The measurement of ads and content on Roku devices will accelerate the path to a single, deduplicated cross-media currency,” said Scott N. Brown, general manager, audience measurement, Nielsen. “As Roku brings the power of dynamic ad insertion to all forms of TV, we’re excited to help monetize the addressable market by measuring smart TV as a currency.”

This deal, along with Vizio's IPO, highlight the importance of the operating system and software in TV and the ad industry, as controlling them is the key to building ad insertion, measurement and other capabilities, observes Tal Chalozin, co-founder and CTO of Innovid. "Moving into the CTV era, Roku is positioning to be the winner with this acquisition, gaining the ability to monetize time spent watching linear TV on its platform," he notes.

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