Recap: Roku’s 2020 Newfront Presentation

On June 22, Roku hosted its first-ever Newfront, unveiling an agile investment plan for the upfront with new audiences, experiences, and outcomes, built for the streaming decade.

Here’s a recap of what’s new!

Why Roku 

As America’s #1 streaming platform by hours streamed, our goal has always been to make TV simpler, more convenient, and more cost effective. We believe that this is the decade when all TV and all TV advertising will be streamed.

 In Q1 2020, streaming hours on Roku grew nearly 50% year over year. In the same period, cord cutting reduced pay TV penetration to levels not seen since 1995. In fact, nearly half of all TV viewing among viewers 18-34 in May was streamed, according to Nielsen.

Last year, there were more ad-supported hours streamed on Roku than any other streaming platform, according to Comscore. More importantly, Roku delivers the audience advertisers want to reach. Our median age is just 39. More than half of our viewers don’t pay for cable, so brands can reach a streaming-first audience that's not on linear TV. 


This year, we introduced OneView, the ad buying platform built for TV streaming. 

With OneView, marketers can find the most cord cutters of any ad platform, leverage TV audience data powered by Roku’s direct consumer relationships, and reach an estimated four in five homes in the U.S.

OneView means media planning, buying, and measurement at the speed of streaming. Marketers can access audiences more accurately across OTT, desktop, and mobile campaigns with better identity solutions. With Roku data, advertisers don’t have to guess who they’re reaching in OTT and beyond. And only Roku has Roku data.

Reserved Audiences 

We introduced Roku Reserve to enable you to buy the top 1% of ad-supported channels with all the proven benefits of audience data. We’ve always curated for advertisers the top TV and Movie channels from our thousands of channels on our platform. This year, an only in this Upfront, Roku Reserve makes it even easier for marketers to pair the best identity data and the best content at once.

We’ve gone deep to identify the channels on Roku that attract the most clicks, the most visits and the most streaming hours. So, wherever your audience is on Roku and beyond, we can help you find them. In fact, a recent measurement study with Innovid found that 75% of Roku media reach was exclusive to other CTV sellers on Roku.

Exclusive Experiences

Just like we wanted to make reaching audiences better, we also wanted to make the streaming experience better.  

We created The Roku Channel nearly three years ago to give cord cutters what they wanted—great content without the price tag. Since then, the Roku Channel has grown faster than the Roku platform, and in Q1, The Roku Channel reached households with an estimated 36 million people. According to Magid, The Roku Channel Is America's #1 free streaming channel on Roku. 

Roku's custom suite of branded experiences take this a step further by integrating brands into The Roku Channel. Now, we’ve introduced Sponsored Pause Breaks, enabling brands to engage in the natural stop and start of streaming.

Optimized Outcomes

Five years ago, we were the first streaming platform to launch Nielsen guarantees. Now, we’re now offering the same Nielsen audience guarantee through your buys in OneView. 

In this Upfront only, we are also introducing pricing equivalency. Our equivalized pricing means that when you buy on The Roku Channel, a 30 second spot is half the price of a 60 second spot. And, you guessed it, a 15 second spot, is half the price of a 30. This has long been the practice in linear TV, and now, we're making it easier than ever to shift dollars to streaming.  

 For the first time out of beta in this upfront, marketers can pay for incremental reach to linear TV. If a Roku viewer sees your ad on linear TV, you don’t pay for that impression. Roku is uniquely suited to provide this guarantee, with exclusive linear viewing data from the 1 in 3 smart TVs sold in the U.S that we power.

But total reach isn’t always enough. With OneView, you can break out each channel’s unique reach, frequency, duplication, and impact on performance, across Roku and your FEP and fluidity deals—all in OneView. It's time for ad collision and frequency blindness to be a thing of the past. 

An Agile Upfront

We are excited to bring an agile approach to our Upfront discussions. 

  • We believe in agility: the freedom to adjust. For example, buyers may register budgets and desired in-quarter options at once.
  • We believe in control: the freedom to deliver the message marketers want today, not months ago. So, we’re providing free creative services to adapt a video spot if messaging no longer fits.
  • And we believe in value: the freedom to measure what matters most. So, we’ll adjust national buys at the ZIP code level within 24 hours at no cost if local regulations or business conditions change.

For those that want to commit more, we're offering favorable expansion options and scatter terms. For those that need agility, we're offering IAB 14-day 100% cancelable terms for upfronts. And, all advertisers can swap lines of business within their upfront commitment at no penalty.

In sum, we are looking forward to helping brands stay agile as the streaming decade unfolds. Stay tuned for info on our private Roku Newfront channel on Roku. And as always, happy streaming!

Get in touch with Roku. Let’s talk. 

Dan Robbins

VP, Ad Marketing & Partner Solution