Roku Unveils Trade Desk, iSpot and NBCUniversal Partnerships at NewFronts

Plus, cars are coming to Roku City, courtesy of DoorDash

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The streaming platform and operating system Roku announced three blockbuster partnerships at its NewFronts presentation at The Glasshouse in New York on Tuesday afternoon, as well as a slate of new video programming.

Roku, which now reaches over 81 million households, unveiled tie-ups with demand-side platform The Trade Desk, measurement service and the publisher NBCUniversal, according to head of ad sales Julian Mintz.

“We want to position ourselves as the lead-in to all television,” Mintz said. “Right now, streaming is fragmented, but we put that puzzle together for viewers and advertisers.”

The deals with The Trade Desk and iSpot.TV aims to solve two of the most pressing problems facing the connected television space: ease of programmatic buying and measurement. Additionally, its partnership with NBCUniversal, which will highlight NBC’s coverage of the 2024 Paris Olympics, will create a bespoke hub for Olympics coverage on the Roku interface.

The new offerings come amid a period of dynamic change in the streaming landscape. Competition among publishers has led to cost-cutting and consolidation, while a newfound emphasis on profitability has led streamers to foreground their ad-supported offerings.

Roku, a hardware company that used its early presence in the streaming landscape to become a publisher, has sought to use its unique position as both gatekeeper and content provider as a point of differentiation. 

Its efforts to make programmatic ad-buying more seamless stand to benefit the company in multiple ways as Roku generates ad revenue through inventory on its shows, its user face and through a revenue share with its publisher partners.

Trade Desk, and NBC partnerships

Roku’s partnership with The Trade Desk underscores the blurring lines between the open web and CTV ecosystems.

Through their partnership, the independent DSP will gain access to Roku data on Roku inventory, allowing media buyers to target viewers with more precision, according to Mintz. The new product is designed primarily to make the buying process more seamless. Buyers had access to many of these capabilities previously but with a more difficult user experience.

Similarly, Roku’s new partnership with will make the measurement provider a preferred source of third-party measurement for Roku, which means will have access to Roku’s data.

Roku works with over 20 measurement providers, giving it the flexibility to accommodate whatever currency an ad buyer prefers to use, according to Mintz. However, its adoption of provides the measurement firm with a key cosign in the ongoing race to become a dominant currency in the ecosystem.

Finally, Roku’s partnership with NBCUniversal introduces the NBC Olympics Zone, a Roku hub featuring all of the available sports, highlights, medal counts and more. The hub is also a direct link to Peacock if viewers want to engage further.

The initiative reflects the value of the Roku interface, whose desirability as an advertising surface stems from its function as the home screen seen by every Roku user. 

Likewise, Roku will also be unveiling new capabilities for integrated advertising on Roku City, the streamer’s screensaver that has become a fixture in pop culture. While brands have been able to advertise in Roku City for over a year—McDonald’s recently introduced its golden arches to the city—the streamer is adding motion to the integrations. The new capability will be showcased through a brand deal with DoorDash, which will bring cars to Roku City.

Expanded slate of video programming 

Roku also unveiled an expanded slate of video programming, headlined by the debut of Tightrope!, a new comedy series with executive producer Bryan Cranston and starring Ty Burrell.

The streaming service also unveiled other forthcoming projects including Tracee Travels, a travel docuseries starring Tracee Ellis Ross; The Arch Project, a docuseries starring Gard Hollinger and Keanu Reeves; and Best Bite Wins, a cooking competition series hosted by Josh Peck, among other series.

The streaming service is looking to capitalize on a strong first quarter performance, which saw the company increase net revenue 19% year over year to $882 million, according to chief executive Anthony Wood.

“With our platform advantages, first-party relationships and more than 80 million streaming households and deep user engagement, we are well-positioned to accelerate platform revenue growth in 2025 and beyond,” Woods said.

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