Roku is launching a new show called “Roku Recommends,” the first effort out of its new brand studio, giving advertisers the opportunity to reach viewers before they ever move into an ad-free environment.
The show is a proving ground for Roku’s recent acquisitions and capabilities, like its brand studio and its Measurement Partner Program, which helps advertisers better measure ad performance. It is aimed at helping brands adapt to a consumer trend towards online streaming.
"Roku Recommends" is a TV Guide of sorts, surfacing content for streaming viewers who often find themselves on an endless search and highlighting content that's trending.
Walmart will be the show's debut sponsor, and Roku says it has other brands signed on as sponsors.
“[The show] does two things,” says Chris Bruss, head of Brand Studio, Roku. “It solves a problem for our users of ‘oh my god, what to watch.’ It also works as a silver bullet for our advertisers—at least you’re able to capture their attention before they move to an SVOD service.”
The show will feature branded segments like one called “child-proof locks” that will be brand-safe for kids, and custom integrations where hosts will take a break and talk about a brand or product as if it were a video podcast.
The show will also be the first to use the Roku Measurement Partner Program, which relies on ad measurement companies like Adjust and Kantar to help advertisers determine the reach and impact of their campaigns. Back in March, Roku bought Nielsen’s Advanced Video Advertising business to strengthen its measurements business. The deal included a long-term agreement to use Nielsen's Digital Ad Ratings in Roku's OneView programmatic platform. With the Partner Program, Roku says advertisers can track metrics like reach over various platforms and campaign outcomes.
The show’s new ad formats reflect demand for ads that are more native to streaming, programmatic, and yes, more like digital advertising, instead of simply re-using the same creative from linear television. For Roku, it also helps highlight their recently expanded library of original content, much of it coming from its acquisition of now-defunct mobile streaming service Quibi.