Redefining the Opening Night:

Movies and the PVOD Landscape

Rob Holmes, VP of Programming at Roku, and his wife Cassie acted fast when “Trolls: World Tour” came out in April. Movie night is an important night for the family, but, with many theaters temporarily closed, they had to get creative with a white bedsheet, a projector, a couple Roku speakers and some theater-style snacks. 

“It was a fun way for my family and I to treat ourselves to a movie night,” Rob says. “While we wait for theaters to open again, this kind of setup is something we’ve done to try and recreate the effect.” 

Rob and his family aren’t alone. 

Trolls: World Tour, one of the first movies to be released during the COVID-19 outbreak, was a number one on-demand title across many streaming providers.

As studios adapt to streaming-first releases, viewers are trying to recreate the experience in their homes. 

This year, especially, has opened a new world of opportunity for premium video on demand (PVOD) options. At Roku, we’ve noticed that our users aren’t turning their backs on the theatrical experience – they’re seeking to replicate it in their own living room.  

Understanding the PVOD Audience

In our survey, we found that:

Higher income, households with children, and viewers age 18-54 are the audiences who are most interested in PVOD. 

Here’s what we recommend when thinking about how to promote big releases as part of your PVOD advertising strategy:  


1. Engage Previous Movie Renters and Buyers

Streamers who bought and/or rented movies in the past are 65% more likely to be interested in PVOD offerings compared to the rest of the Roku audience. Among users who had recently purchased a movie, just about half (45%) said they would be willing to pay $15+ for premium rentals.


2. Target the Premium Streamer

Audiences who are most likely to watch premium video on demand are usually subscription video on demand (SVOD) and premium subscribers.

Among these Roku users:

61% are more likely to rent or purchase premium titles

3. Build Creative Partnerships 

Even when viewers are getting ready for an opening night at home, they tend to recreate the experience in their own living room – all the way down to concessions. Popcorn and pizza are the most popular snacks when Roku users purchase or rent a title for a movie night. 

This presents an opportunity for movie studios to partner with snack brands or other movie night products to help viewers truly have a special, once-in-a-lifetime experience while watching a new movie, even if it isn’t in a theater. It’s also an opportunity for brands to participate in exclusive movie showings that attract a big audience by advertising.  

PVOD: A Supplement, Not a Replacement 

It’s impossible to truly have the same experience at home as a movie in the theater, but studios can still help support loyal movie-goers who are currently watching through PVOD services. By building excitement among the right audience and getting creative when it comes to packaging and partnerships, it’s still possible to build that unforgettable experience when it comes to movie night.