Viacom Strikes Advertising Deal with Roku as Its TV Ad Revenue Falls

First programmer to access streaming service’s audience data

As second-quarter TV ad revenue fell 5 percent, Viacom is hoping that a new targeted advertising deal with Roku will help resuscitate its advertising business. Viacom and Roku announced a new partnership today which will give Viacom access to Roku's audience data and enable the company to deliver targeted advertising to Roku's various audience demos.

"Viacom's unique partnership with Roku extends our game-changing ecosystem, bringing targeted advertising at scale in a way that—until now—was not available in the premium television environment," said Kern Schireson, Viacom's evp of data strategy and consumer intelligence, in a statement. "With this partnership, we can deliver more relevant messages to Roku consumers for products and services that interest them."

Viacom said this is the first time a programmer has gained access to Roku's audience targeting data. Roku users streamed 5.5 billion hours of content in 2015.

Roku's vp of advertising, Scott Rosenberg, touted his platform's ability to offer advertisers the full-screen, 100 percent viewable video of linear combined with the targeting, interactivity and measurement of digital. "We're committed to helping our publishers more effectively monetize in OTT," he said in a statement.

Viacom's announcement was intended to blunt its other advertising news this morning from its second-quarter earnings: U.S. TV ad revenue fell 5 percent in the last quarter, with pricing increases offset by lower ratings. Revenue dropped 3 percent.

During a conference call with investors, Philippe Dauman, Viacom's executive chairman, president and CEO, echoed the sentiments from the other major media companies by anticipating a thriving TV upfront marketing this year. And Viacom's Roku deal gives the company even more data to tout during its upfront talks.

"We are responding to industry consumption shifts with innovative, thoughtful, and long-term strategic solutions and are generating meaningful results in many important areas, including content creation, data-based audience measurement and distribution innovation," said Dauman. "There is much more work to be done, but we see the path to growth ahead and are very optimistic about our future."