Nielsen Adds Roku Channels’ Content to Streaming Ratings Charts

Nielsen and Roku Oct. 26 announced that as of this month, Nielsen is tabulating channel content across Roku’s 55.1 million active accounts and devices within its weekly digital content ratings. The platform provides access to deduplicated reach and demographic insights for channels on Roku devices to identify which programs most effectively reach key audiences.

Nielsen currently tracks digital programming from Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Apple TV+. It reportedly does not track HBO Max programming.

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The increase in coverage is expected to help content owners and advertisers navigate the expanding world of TV streaming, and adds another major media brand to Nielsen One, the company’s cross-media content tracking across linear and digital television.

Nielsen digital ratings also tracks static web pages and mobile apps, across computer, mobile and TV streaming devices.

“This strengthens the close collaboration between Roku and Nielsen,” Louqman Parampath, VP of product management at Roku, said in a statement. “This bolsters our commitment to delivering for our customers and underscores our focus to continue to be an innovator in the evolving TV streaming measurement landscape.”

Earlier this year, Nielsen and Roku announced an alliance to better track TV advertising. Roku acquired Nielsen’s Advanced Video Advertising business, which includes video automatic content recognition and dynamic ad insertion technologies. Nielsen and Roku will continue to integrate complementary content measurement products to further advance Nielsen ONE.

Roku Greenlights New Content Recommendation Episodes

Roku Oct. 20 announced that “Roku Recommends” will return for a new slate of episodes starting this fall. “Roku Recommends” is a fifteen-minute weekly entertainment program that uses Roku data to help streamers discover new shows and hidden gems on the branded streaming platform. Co-hosts Emmy Award-winner Maria Menounos and Andrew “Hawk” Hawkins to shine a spotlight on their Top-5 best bets and movies to stream for the week.

“If you’re like me, it’s hard to pick what to stream next,” Menounos said in a statement.

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Hawk contends the concept behind “Roku Recommends” is for the hosts to do the “dirty work” and help point viewers in the right direction when streamer-indecision hits.

For Roku, directing streamers to content helps sell advertising.

“Advertisers need a new way to reach their customers, especially as more streamers spend time in ad-free, subscription-only environments,” said Chris Bruss, Head of Roku Brand Studio.

According to Roku internal data, “Roku Recommends” has been a Top-10 VOD series by unique views on The Roku Channel since its debut in June. Seventy-one percent of “Roku Recommends” households streamed a new channel on the Roku platform after watching an episode since its debut, and according to the company’s annual streaming survey, The Streaming Decade, conducted by the National Research Group, 1 in 4 consumers are now cord cutters. Given this success, weekly recommendation segments will continue to provide a unique method for brands to reach their audiences and produce engaging, relevant and entertaining content.

Unlike sponsorships on traditional TV, marketers can use the Roku Measurement Partner Program to quantify whether their “Roku Recommends” integration reaches SVOD-only streamers, adds incremental reach to their overall video ad campaign, shifts perceptions of their brand, drives consumers into stores/websites, or moves product off the shelf.

“Roku Recommends” is a Roku Brand Studio series created in partnership with The Roku Channel team and produced by Funny Or Die. The Roku Brand Studio mission is to create advertiser-driven content built for TV streaming.

The show is available to stream for free on The Roku Channel, with new episodes every Thursday. Funny or Die’s Mike Farah, Beth Belew, and Jim Ziegler serve as executive producers.

Roku Bowing ‘This Old House’ SVOD Service; Announces New Episodes

Roku Sept. 30 announced that Emmy Award-winning series “This Old House” and “Ask This Old House” would premiere new seasons on Sept. 30 on The Roku Channel. For the first time in the franchise’s 43-year history, the 2021-22 season would feature 39 episodes of each show — 13 more than in previous seasons.

The new episodes will premiere on PBS as well as on an all-new dedicated premium subscription channel on The Roku Channel on Thursdays. Viewers will be able to stream new episodes for free on demand on The Roku Channel the following Mondays.

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Roku in March announced it had acquired the “This Old House” franchise, including global distribution rights, all subsidiary brands and the television production studio. From more than 200 linear channels available on The Roku Channel, “This Old House” is one of the top 20 linear channels by hours streamed from Jan. 1 to Sept. 1, according to Roku.

“Joining Roku earlier this year enabled [us] to invest more in our storied brand, which will benefit an all-new generation of home improvement enthusiasts this season and in many years to come,” Dan Suratt, VP of “This Old House” at Roku, said in a statement.

In July, the show won its 19th Emmy for “Outstanding Instructional and How-To Program” at the 48th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards.

Returning for its 43rd season, “This Old House” will kick off in Concord, Mass., with a young family who is moving from the city to a New England Cape built in 1880. The owners are hands-on renovators and want to improve upon the views of their three-acre property and make better use of their space. The This Old House cast of experts team up with the Silva Brothers to reconfigure this Revolutionary New England Cape.

“Ask This Old House” returns for its 20th season with new episodes, including general soldering techniques and how to connect water piping, how to build, install, and paint a railing for deck stairs to match the original railing, how to create a durable landscape that can withstand heavy pedestrian traffic and more. The show will feature a special 20th anniversary episode in January 2022.

Starting Oct. 12, the “This Old House” subscription VOD channel will be available on The Roku Channel in the United States. The channel channel costs $4.99 a month and will launch with a 14-day free trial.

Launching separately Oct. 13, “This Old House Classic” is a live channel on The Roku Channel featuring classic episodes dating back to 1979 and featuring original hosts Bob Vila and Steve Thomas.

The Roku Channel Inks Deal With Lionsgate for Its First Original Movie

Roku and Lionsgate Sept. 8 announced that an all-new movie based on Emmy-winning show “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” will debut on The Roku Channel this holiday season.

The project, which will bring the original cast back for a holiday encore, is the first Roku Original feature-length film announced for The Roku Channel. Production for Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas will commence in Vancouver this month and will stream exclusively on The Roku Channel in the U.S., as well as streaming on Roku in Canada and the U.K.

In addition to the new feature film, all 25 episodes of the critically acclaimed series, which aired on NBC for two seasons, will be available to stream on The Roku Channel in the U.S. starting later this fall.

“‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’ is the kind of show that doesn’t just entertain people, it speaks to them,” Colin Davis, Roku’s head of original scripted programming, said in a statement.

The film picks up where season two left off, continuing Zoey’s journey as she navigates work, family, love, and everything in between. Golden Globe nominated Jane Levy, Skylar Astin, Alex Newell, John Clarence Stewart, Andrew Leeds, Alice Lee, Michael Thomas Grant, Kapil Talwalkar, David St. Louis, Mary Steenburgen, Peter Gallagher, and Bernadette Peters (nominated for an Emmy for her performance in the series), will all reprise their roles.

“Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas” is produced by Lionsgate in association with the Tannenbaum Company, Feigco Entertainment and Universal Music Group’s Polygram Entertainment and Zihuatenejo Productions.

The series earned multiple award accolades, including an Emmy for outstanding choreography for scripted programming, five Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe nomination for Levy.

“The fans were passionate and unwavering in their support, and their perseverance paid off,” said Scott Herbst, EVP of television and head of development, and Lee Hollin, EVP of television and head of current programming, both at Lionsgate.

Austin Winsberg will write and executive produce. Richard Shepard, director of the “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” pilot, will direct. Kim Tannenbaum, Eric Tannenbaum, Paul Feig, David Blackman and Daniel Inkeles will serve as executive producers. Dan Magnante, Jason Wang and Mandy Moore will serve as co-executive producers with Michele Greco serving as producer. Sam Laybourne and Samantha McIntyre are consulting producers.

Cinedigm Adds Four Streaming Platforms to The Roku Channel

Cinedigm Aug. 24 announced that four of its newest channels are now available on ad-supported The Roku Channel. The channels include recent licensees “Real Madrid TV,” showcasing one Spain’s top soccer clubs; reality-based “So … Real” and “The Only Way Is Essex,” as well as Robert Rodriguez’s “El Rey Network.”

Access to The Roku Channel enables Cinedigm to share with Roku in any ad-revenue generated by its licensed channels across a platform Roku said saw more than 55 million monthly active viewers through the second quarter, ended June 30.

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“The Roku Channel continues to grow as a go-to destination for streaming, enabling users to discover and enjoy a wide variety of programming,” Daniel Schneider, SVP of revenue at Cinedigm, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to help make such a variety of new channels that we know will appeal to each enthusiast audience available on The Roku Channel.”

Roku Expands AVOD Channel Lineup With 17 Additions

Roku Aug. 17 announced addition of 17 new channels launching this week on The Roku Channel. Viewers can now stream 16 new ad-supported linear channels across a variety of genres. Additionally, a new channel dedicated to “The Wiggles,” an Australian-based children’s band, goes live Aug. 19.

The new channels include: “AccuWeather Now,” “Baywatch,” “CBC News,” “El Rey Network,” “Estrella Games,” “FilmRise Horror,” “FilmRise Kids,” “FilmRise True Crime,” “IGN,” “Mega Noticias,” “RCN Más,” “Real Madrid TV,” “So … Real ” and “The Only Way Is Essex.”

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“The demand for free, quality programming continues to be of importance to our streamers,” Ashley Hovey, director of The Roku Channel, said in a statement. “We’ve seen linear streaming explode over the last year.”

Indeed, Roku reported that total time spent streaming on its AVOD platform and others increased 2.8 billion minutes, or 19%, to 17.4 billion in the second quarter (ended June 30), compared with the previous-year period with 14.6 billion minutes.

The Roku Channel first launched live/linear programming in 2018, adding a “Kids & Family” platform in 2019. In Q2 2021, kids and family programming on The Roku Channel was streamed by more households than any other AVOD kids and family standalone channel on the Roku platform.

The Roku Channel now features more than 200 linear AVOD channels across news, sports, kids and family, lifestyle and Spanish language entertainment, among others.

Roku Bowing 23 New Original (Quibi) Programs Aug. 13

Roku Aug. 9 announced a new slate of Roku Originals will be available to stream on The Roku Channel beginning Aug. 13. The lineup features 23 titles, including four all-new premieres, available exclusively on the free ad-supported platform in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. 

The series come from shuttered streaming service Quibi, whose 75-program portfolio Roku reportedly acquired for around $100 million earlier this year. Among programs launching are the Emmy-nominated show “Mapleworth Murders from writers Paula Pell, John Lutz and J.B. Smoove.

“While it’s only been a few months since the launch of Roku Originals, the response has been overwhelming,” Brian Tannenbaum, head of alternative programming at Roku, said in a statement.

Pell said making “Mapleworth Murders” was a “glorious crime procedural romp through a field of pure nutbaggery.”

“We are so incredibly excited that … millions of viewers can watch a lesbian spinster and dipstick sheriff and deputy try to solve some of the most ridiculous daily murders in an otherwise charming town,” Pell said. “Full disclosure, we wrote almost all of it in a melatonin twilight.”

Roku Originals continue to help drive strong viewer engagement for The Roku Channel since its launch in May. The top five streamed TV programs by unique view on The Roku Channel this summer (from May 20 to July 18) were all originals. The Roku Channel saw strong growth with streaming hours more than doubling year-over-year in Q2 2021. According to Nielsen streaming reach ratings for the month of June, The Roku Channel was the No. 6 streaming channel by household reach in America, coming in after Disney+, Hulu, Amazon, YouTube and Netflix.

The complete lineup: “&Music,” “The Andy Cohen Diaries,” “Benedict Men,” “Elba vs. Block,” “Eye Candy,” “Fierce Queens,” “Floored,” “Gone Mental with Lior,” “Mapleworth Murders,” “Memory Hole,” “Nice One!,” “Nikki Fre$h,” “Run This City,” “The Sauce,” “Sex Next Door,” “Singled Out,” “Skrrt with Offset,” “Squeaky Clean,” “The Stranger,” “Survive,” “Thanks a Million” (Season 2), “What Happens in Hollywood” and “Wireless.”

Roku Launching Original Talk Show Hosted by Randall Park

Roku, in collaboration with Maker’s Mark Bourbon, July 14 announced the premiere of “The Show Next Door,” a weekly talk show hosted by Randall Park (“Fresh Off The Boat,” The Interview), who sits down with actors, athletes, and musicians for conversation, games and comedy. The first two episodes of the six-episode series are streaming for free on ad-supported The Roku Channel.

Developed in partnership with Maker’s Mark and the Roku Brand Studio, “The Show Next Door” aims to stream the ambiance of having a quick drink with friends (who are of legal drinking age, of course) in the living room.

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Roku launched its Brand Studio in March to help marketers go beyond the traditional 30-second TV ad spot and amplify moments in the marketing calendar, including advertiser-commissioned short- and mid-form TV programs, interactive video ads, and other branded content on The Roku Channel.

Each episode of “The Show Next Door” takes place in Park’s “living room,” and begins with him crafting a favorite cocktail during his opening monologue. Season One guests include Tony Hale, former NFL star Terrell Owens, Fortune Feimster, Jason Mraz, Mark Duplass and Gina Yashere, among others.

“I always wondered what it would be like to host a talk show, and now I know — it’s super fun,” Park said in a statement.

The show’s focus is based on consumer insight, with Roku saying comedy content has performed particularly well on The Roku Channel. In the first quarter of 2021, Roku saw streaming hours for comedy content grow 798% on the platform compared to the first quarter of 2020.

“We turned to the Roku Brand Studio because we want to go beyond the traditional ad experience on the largest screen in the home,” said KK Hall, global senior marketing director for Maker’s Mark.

Brian Toombs, head of content at Roku Brand Studio, said “The Show Next Door” is an example of moving beyond the traditional 30-second ad and creating a “fun and uplifting” comedy so an advertiser reaches streamers
whether they are watching ad-supported or subscription-only content.

The show will be available to stream for free on The Roku Channel and across Marker’s Mark social media channels. Starcom USA, which oversees media on behalf of Maker’s Mark, developed the partnership alongside Roku and Maker’s Mark.

Samsung Expands TV Plus AVOD Platform to Web

Samsung has quietly rolled out its ad-supported “TV Plus” streaming video platform app for anyone to access on the internet. The app, which streams third-party content such as ABC News Live, PBS Kids, ION Plus and Vice, similarly to Redbox Live TV, The Roku Channel, Pluto TV and Tubi, has been available since 2016 for mobile devices and Samsung TV owners.

Samsung also made the app available to cast on Google Chromecast devices, according to Protocol, which first reported the move.

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Since launching the app, Samsung reportedly has installed the platform in 50 million of its connected televisions, in addition to access on Galaxy mobile devices. It is also available in 23 countries.

“We stream billions of minutes every month,” Sang Kim, SVP of Samsung Electronics, told the publication.

Indeed, AVOD and free ad-supported streaming television, or FAST, has grown in popularity among CE manufacturers and media companies unwilling to directly take on SVOD, including heavyweights Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Hulu.

More importantly, AVOD is generating ad-revenue, hundreds of millions of dollars worth. In its most-recent fiscal filing, Roku reported it generated $466 million in Q1 platform-related ad revenue, up 101% from the previous-year period.

Both ViacomCBS and Fox Entertainment contend their respective AVOD platforms (Pluto TV and Tubi) can generate about $1 billion in annual advertising revenue by next year.

Roku: Launch of Originals Drives Record Two-Week Streaming Period for The Roku Channel

Roku June 18 provided an update on the recent launch of its branded original content. In late May, Roku added 30 original series to The Roku Channel starring Kevin Hart, Anna Kendrick and Jennifer Lopez, among others, following the purchase of content from defunct streaming service Quibi. The debut helped build significant growth of The Roku Channel, and ad-supported VOD platform, which reached an estimated 70 million people in the U.S. as of the first quarter, ended March 31.

In the two weeks following the launch of Roku Originals, May 20 to June 3, a record number of unique accounts streamed The Roku Channel. Furthermore, the Top 10 most-watched programs on the channel were all branded originals in this two-week period.

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“We always believed Roku Originals would perform exceptionally well as free, ad -supported entertainment on The Roku Channel,” Rob Holmes, VP of programming, said in a statement. “The first two weeks have surpassed our expectations … and provided a further demonstration of The Roku Channel flywheel driving record engagement that’s appealing to advertisers seeking to reach the streaming audience.”

In addition to driving broader discovery of The Roku Channel, Roku Originals saw deep engagement. In the first two weeks, more than one in three users streamed a an original series — with users streaming more than nine episodes on average.

Roku expects to release an additional 45 originals this year to complement the channel’s library of 40,000+ free movies and television programs and 190+ live linear channels already offered to viewers.

Recently, Roku ordered a second season of the Roku Original series “Die Hart,” after the action-comedy series starring Kevin Hart had the largest opening weekend in the history of The Roku Channel. In May, Roku inked a deal with Saban Films to bring the studio’s feature films directly to The Roku Channel after theatrical release — a first-of-its-kind agreement for Roku. In March, Roku acquired “This Old House,” which included the two top-rated home improvement programs in the U.S and a television production studio.

The Roku Channel licenses and distributes content from more than 175 partners and is the home of free and premium entertainment on the Roku platform. In addition to Roku devices, The Roku Channel is available on Web, iOS and Android devices, Amazon Fire TV and select Samsung TVs and can be accessed internationally in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.