Roku Is Building a Bridge for TV Advertisers With Nielsen’s Audience Guarantees

It's a big step forward for the streaming service

TV connected devices made up 23 percent of average weekly video minutes among adults 18-34, more than double that of PCs, smartphones and, tablets combined.
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Roku, a creator of connected devices that allow users to customize their TV viewing experience, will now allow advertisers to buy against Nielsen’s familiar audience guarantee system.

“TV advertisers have decades of experience with the same modeling, targeting and measurement systems,” Scott Rosenberg, Roku’s svp of advertising, told Adweek. “This service will allow them to follow viewers as they move their TV time.”

According to a recent study, 40 percent of Roku customers have cut or “shaved” the cable cord, choosing to watch their TV via streaming. Additionally, Nielsen data shows fewer and fewer people are watching linear TV.

TV connected devices, like Roku, Apple TV and Google Chromecast, make up roughly 23 percent of average weekly video minutes among adults 18-34. That’s more than double that of PCs, smartphones and tablets combined.

To Rosenberg, Roku users didn’t necessarily grow up with an allegiance to traditional paid TV service. Instead, they’ve been “willing to innovate and create their own custom bundle or viewing package.”

And media agencies are getting on board.

“We are excited to partner with Roku on this first-to-market opportunity,” said Erica Sperry, vice president of national video investments for Trilia. “As viewing migrates increasingly to OTT platforms, it’s critical for us to help our clients stay in the forefront of this shift in consumer behavior.”

Roku’s audience guarantees will be available for advertisers on Roku’s app as well as within ad-supported services on Roku devices, such as Hulu.

“Roku is pushing the industry forward to adopt verification standards for media buying on OTT platforms,” said Britney Greenhouse, digital media director for Horizon Media. “We have been working together with Roku to pilot the audience guaranteed product. We’ve seen positive match rates with Nielsen which are a good sign.”

Ad-supported content accounts for half of the top 250 most-watched channels on Roku. Rosenberg says consumers are looking for value, “but the ad infrastructure has to work properly to meet their needs.”

“It’s up to us in the marketing field to work harder to be relevant and engaging with consumers,” he said. “Everyone’s an empowered viewer who can choose what to watch and when to watch it.”