Roku is best known for the adorable set-top boxes and compact streaming sticks it sells, but ads have been Roku’s real cash cow for a while now. The company, which has 55.1 million active accounts, reported $532 million in revenue from its platform business, which includes advertising, in Q2. So it’s no surprise that Roku is making it easier for advertisers to figure out which shows are hot.
Months after announcing a strategic ad-targeting partnership to help shape and standardize “the future of media measurement and TV advertising in a streaming-first market,” Roku said on Tuesday that it is set to officially begin allowing publishers to measure channel content across its devices within Nielsen Digital Content Ratings (DCR).
According to Roku, the new measurement is available this month and provides content publishers access to deduplicated reach and demographic insights for their channels on Roku devices so they they can better strategize on how to advertise to and solidify key audience demographics. The new measurement will be a boon to Nielsen’s ONE initiative—the cross-media measurement system the market research giant announced in late 2020 as a “single currency” to help advertisers identify which programs most effectively reach their key audiences.
“DCR’s syndicated, independent measurement provides market transparency and immediate value to our publishers around understanding audiences in their channels,” Louqman Parampath, VP of Product Management at Roku, said in a press release. “This bolsters our commitment to delivering for our customers and underscores our focus to continue to be an innovator in the evolving TV streaming measurement landscape.”
The new measurement’s rollout is just the latest step in Roku’s plan to leverage Nielsen’s Advanced Video Advertising business, which it absorbed in March, to better target viewers through its ad-supported linear channels. Although the new measurement does not measure ad performance explicitly, arming publishers with key demographic info about who’s tuning into certain shows and channels puts them in a better position to sell ads.
It’s also worth noting that, in addition to strengthening Roku’s ability to target and tailor ads to a viewer’s gender, age, and shopping interests, the new partnership with Nielsen will also result in a trove of consumer data being funneled directly to Nielsen itself, which then uses DCR to measure audience consumption across all the screens in someone’s home, “including streaming video, static web pages and mobile apps, across computer, mobile and TV streaming devices,” per the press release.
While a recent survey by Morning Consult found that 64% of adults in the U.S. find targeted ads to be “invasive” and 69% think they’re repetitive, streaming services are a red-hot market for advertisers, and the appetite for new audience insights likely won’t be sated anytime soon. If it’s privacy you’re worried about, you may have to explore an ad-free solution.
Update, 10/26/21 at 3 p.m. ET: This article has been updated to more accurately reflect the fact that DCR measures audience consumption, but does not measure ad performance.