Roku gives TV networks access to its own data so they can sell targeted ads

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Credit: Roku

Roku is opening up its viewer data to TV networks and video publishers so they can offer marketers better-targeted ads on the streaming-video platform.

Dubbed the "Audience Marketplace," the effort makes Roku one of the first over-the-top companies to give publishers insight into their viewers in a way that allows them to better sell ad inventory.

Fox, Viacom and Turner will be the first to use Roku's insights into its millions of streamers and let their advertisers target specific audience segments at a household level, according to Roku. Those insights comprise Roku's own proprietary data on user segments such as cord-cutters, derived from research and insights into users' watching habits, plus outside data from Acxiom and Experian. Networks can also apply their own data.

Roku is keeping the data within its system, however, meaning networks won't be able to apply it elsewhere; the company will match targets with viewer impressions on the networks' behalf.

TV networks traditionally have not had a direct relationship with their consumers, who have much tighter links with pay-TV providers. That has created a blind spot from an audience targeting and measuring standpoint, says Larry Allen, VP of ad innovation and programmatic solutions at Turner, which owns networks such as TBS, TNT and CNN.

Networks like Turner so far have been targeting ads on Roku by context -- matching marketers to the video that best fit the type of audience they were looking to reach.

"This opens up the ability for us to extend audiences from our data-driven linear and digital buys into OTT," Allen says. "It's going to allow us to deliver cross-screen capabilities for clients in a much more consistent fashion than we were able to do prior."

Advertisers can take advantage of the Audience Marketplace through programmatic or buying directly from media sellers.

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