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Hardware giant Roku – famous for developing hardware that lowered the barrier to TV streaming – has acquired Nielsen’s Advanced Video Advertising (AVA) business to solve the measurement issue in connected TV (CTV) and continue growing its ad spend share.  

The move gives Roku a huge advantage in maturing the CTV ad market – although the rest of the sector will also be busy in 2021. The Drum takes a closer look at the strategic alliance with the media measurement firm. 

The deal

  • Roku is strengthening its market-leading proposition by acquiring Nielsen’s Advanced Video Advertising (AVA) business. It comes bundled with tech that can identify and categorize video content and dynamically insert relevant ads into linear shows. 

  • Roku made its name selling streaming hardware. Now, like Apple, it is software that generates the bulk of its revenue. It made $1.2bn from software revenue last year, largely driven by advertising. 

  • While details of the deal are undisclosed, Axios says 100 Nielsen staff will join Roku.

  • Having already worked together for years, Nielsen’s Total Ad Ratings (TAR) will now run on Roku while Roku’s media sales and ad-buying platform, OneView, will natively integrate Nielsen ’always on’ Digital Ad Ratings (DAR) for advertisers. Nielsen’s Digital Content Ratings (DCR) will also be available.

  • Sean Cohan, Nielsen Global Media’s chief growth officer and international president, says the unit will ”remain an independent measurement company”.

Why the rush?

  • Media measurement has been lacking in CTV and marketers are at the experimentation stage with this new medium. Standards are still being developed. 

  • CTV aligns broadcast TV advertising with systems digital marketers will be more familiar with. Ads can be tailored to viewers and their performance measured. 

  • Roku says it has 50m active accounts, which translates to about the same number of customers shared by Sky (Europe) and Comcast (US) – although revenue per user and dwell time will likely be lower. Roku says it is available on 100m devices. In short, it now has the scale to develop a worthy platform.

  • ”Tens of billions of dollars continue to be spent annually on traditional TV advertising,” said Louqman Parampath, vice-president of product management at Roku. It looks to bring the ”benefits of TV streaming advertising to traditional TV”.

  • Scott N Brown, general manager of audience measurement at Nielsen, says the deal will help ”accelerate the path to a single, deduplicated cross-media currency”.

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