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A Roku exec reveals the 2 biggest questions he's getting from advertisers and the steps the company is taking to address them
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A Roku exec reveals the 2 biggest questions he's getting from advertisers and the steps the company is taking to address them

Dan Robbins Roku

  • People's daily routines are changing rapidly as they stay home to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
  • Roku is trying to help marketers that are still advertising figure out where they fit into viewers' new routines.
  • Roku exec Dan Robbins said advertisers are asking how they can connect their brands to the current change in consumer behaviors, and how they can quickly adapt their existing creative for this moment.
  • Roku launched a "Home Together" initiative last week that includes a few new offerings for advertisers, including the ability to "unlock" free content for viewers and add overlays that promote timely messages like home delivery or curbside pickup to existing commercials.
  • "Anyone who's still open for business is trying to figure out how to adapt quickly," Robbins said.
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People are spending more time streaming video as they stay home to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

While evenings - known as primetime in the US - are still the most watched time of day, Roku said it's also seen huge spikes in streaming in the middle of the day, from noon to 6 p.m.

Daytime viewing has increased more in the past two to three weeks than any other time of day, said Dan Robbins, vice president of ad marketing and partner solutions for Roku.

As the ad market faces pressure from the recent economic downturn, Roku is trying to help marketers that can afford to continue advertising figure out where they fit into viewers' new routines.

People are seeking out different kinds of content than they were before, Robbins said. They're searching on streaming platforms for more news, fitness, educational, lifestyle, kids and family, and food programming.

  • How can my brand connect with the way consumer routines and behaviors are changing?
  • How can I quickly adapt my existing creative for this moment?

Roku launched an initiative on March 26, called "Home Together," to help address these questions.

The effort brings more free news, family, educational, fitness, and other content that people are searching for to the forefront of Roku's platform and The Roku Channel. Roku also got about two dozen subscription services, including Showtime and Hallmark, to extend their free-trial periods to 30 days.

Behind the scenes, Robbins team is also helping brands find ways into that content. It's selling more sponsorships that allow brands to "unlock" free content for viewers or curate programming that viewers may be interested in.

Roku has also rolled out features to help brands adapt their existing creative to the current environment

Advertisers can now add custom overlays to promote home delivery, curbside pickup, mobile ordering, or other timely features onto their existing ads. And the company is in the process of introducing services to help advertisers re-cut their commercials, or turn static social posts into digital-video ads.

"You as a brand may have an ad that was about going to seek the great outdoors, or bringing a beer to a party, but those maybe no longer feel relevant in this moment," Robbins said. "We've launched a few ways to help advertisers quickly tailor their creative."

The pandemic is projected to cost the ad industry nearly $26 billion in revenue, a 10.6% decline, according to MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson. And it could radically change the advertising industry, as Business Insider reported.

But as of now, Robbins said he's seeing interest in these new ad offerings from a variety of advertisers, such as studios that have moved up home-video or streaming release dates and retailers that are promoting online delivery.

"Anyone who's still open for business is trying to figure out how to adapt quickly," Robbins said.


For more about how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting media, see our coverage on BI Prime: