Roku Targets Linear TV Ad Spend with New OTT Measurement Tools

Over-the-top (OTT) platform and hardware maker Roku today announce new analytics and planning tools for OTT advertisers, making a play for linear TV ad spend by allowing more direct comparisons between OTT and linear TV advertising.

The new tools, called ‘Activation Insights’, sit inside Roku Ad Insights Suite. Roku says they will give brands “a comprehensive review of [their] linear TV campaign performance, with an analysis of the potential OTT audience missed and the optimal budget spend on the Roku platform”.

The idea here for Roku seems to be straightforward – to convince brands to spend more within its own advertising ecosystem by highlighting which audiences they might be missing out on with their linear TV campaigns. The company claims that US ice cream chain Baskin Robbins found using the tools that 86 percent of 18-49 year-olds who saw a Baskin Robbins ad on the Roku platform did not see the ad on linear TV.

By making these direct comparisons, Roku hopes to speed the shift of ad spend from linear TV into OTT. “Smart marketers are significantly increasing investments in OTT to reflect the dramatic shift to streaming,” said Scott Rosenberg, Roku’s SVP and GM of Platform Business. “By adding the ability to tie advertising performance on linear with a specific audience that advertisers can gain on OTT, we are addressing the long-standing industry challenge for OTT media planning. We believe it’s no longer a question of when advertising budgets will shift to streaming but how much”.

While Roku will hope the tools boost its own ad revenues, the new capabilities could also give genuine value to advertisers if they help them better understand the value of their OTT investments. “Roku’s tool helps show us just how effective OTT is at reaching our advertisers’ valuable customers,” said Michel Piner, SVP of Video and Data Drive Investments at MullenLowe. “It gives us a detailed look behind the GRP, allowing us to identify key audiences we’re missing or over/under exposed to linear TV ads, but that can be effectively reached on Roku devices.”

Ad revenues have been an increasingly important revenue stream for Roku, as its emphasis has shifted away from hardware sales and onto income from its Roku platform. The company reported in its most recent financial results that platform revenue (which includes ad revenues, as well as distribution revenues shares and audience development revenue) were up 71 percent in Q1 this year. Monetised video ad impressions across the platforms more than doubled year-on-year, according to the results.

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