Roku, the market leader among streaming device makers, has long pitched itself as the overarching platform of streaming TV, a place to find content from any network or content company. That basic pitch isn’t changing, but if this year’s Newfront pitch to advertisers is any indication, the company is leaning more heavily into exclusive content, as it seeks to bolster its advertising business.
At the core of Roku’s content push are a few key elements: The former slate of Quibi shows (now rebranded as “Roku Originals”), content from This Old House, which Roku acquired in March, and original content created through its newly launched content studio.
In the case of Quibi and This Old House, the shift is about “bringing [the content] to a wide audience,” says Roku national brand sales lead Kristina Shepard, who added that the content produced by Quibi “was seen by a very small percentage of people,” letting Roku take ownership of it as it releases it for free and for TV screens.
In the case of Roku’s content studio, it is about creating original content in partnership with advertisers that have traditionally been major buyers of linear TV.
“We are thinking about what’s next, we are in development on a celebrity-hosted talk show, which will be sponsored by a spirits brand, we are also developing a series of funny, scripted vignettes for a potato chip brand,” Shepard says. “When you think about what you can do here there are so many opportunities.
“What both the Roku originals and the content studio are doing is giving brands an alternative to the traditional 30-second spot,” she adds.
In its Newfront pitch Monday, Roku also officially rolled out its OneView ad buying platform. The company is partnering with Nielsen, making OneView “one of the first buying platforms to provide Nielsen reach & frequency reporting by age and gender across all four screens — linear TV, TV streaming, desktop and mobile,” the company says.
It’s all part of a shift by the company, which is “aiming to make it the easiest platform for brands to bring their TV investment into,” Shepard says.