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Roku is leaning hard into original programming.
At its 2021 NewFronts pitch, the streaming TV company presented its first slate of originals and emphasized the growth in streaming audiences versus the decline in viewers of linear TV.
Roku now reaches 148 million viewers, with a median age of 39 years old, Alison Levin, its VP of ad revenue and marketing solutions, said during a prerecorded presentation.
The company used the recent March Madness tournament as an example of streaming incline and linear decline: according to data from Nielsen, March Madness’ streaming audience on Roku increased by 85% from 2019 to 2021; conversely, the tournament’s linear TV reach declined by 24% in the same timeframe.
Roku also enticed advertisers by offering a glimpse at its debut lineup of originals. The slate, first and foremost, contains content Roku acquired from Jeffrey Katzenberg’s disastrous, short-lived subscription service Quibi. That deal closed in January and was reportedly worth “significantly less” than $100 million. Quibi’s series and films will be rebranded and redeployed on the flagship Roku Channel.
Kristina Shepard, Roku’s national brand sales lead, said at the NewFronts that redistributing Quibi’s content is about “bringing it to a wide audience” because on Quibi, “it was seen by a very small percentage of people.”
The slate will also include veteran home improvement show This Old House. Roku acquired the 42-year-old series, its production studio, its global distribution rights, all its subsidiary brands, and its digital assets in March. Past seasons of the series and spinoff Ask This Old House are currently airing on the Roku Channel, but the company plans to produce more content around the program, it said today (without giving specifics).
Also on the originals front, Roku said that–through its branded content studio–it’s currently in pre-production on a “celeb-hosted talk show sponsored by a spirits brand,” and is developing “a series of funny scripted vignettes for a potato chip brand.”
Roku’s NewFronts slot additionally unveiled ad-buying and measurement platform OneView. In partnership with Nielsen, Roku will now offer marketers performance metrics on ads shown against its content on linear TV, connected TV, desktop, and mobile.
Roku says OneView will be “the only platform to feature industry-first Nielsen reach & frequency reporting by age and gender across all four screens.”
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