By Sahil Patel
As reported by The Wall Street Journal’s CMO Today, Roku has been quietly building a video ad network in order to sell select video inventory across apps (“channels”) on its platform. The model is similar to what you see on TV, where networks release some of their inventory to the cable and satellite TV providers.
Roku has not disclosed which content providers it has such ad-selling arrangements with. Some of the top apps on the platform include Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, Crackle, and WatchESPN — as well as non-video apps like Pandora and Spotify. In total, the company’s platform offers access to more than 1,800 channels.
The specifics of the deals between Roku and content providers vary, according to the report. The larger the content provider, the less Roku receives in inventory. That said, a significant majority of apps on the platform are from lesser-known content providers, which give Roku more control in monetizing their apps.
And yet, Roku is not interested in selling individual apps or shows on apps. Instead, the company has been offering packages — backed by internal audience data — that promise advertisers reach across multiple channels.
The advertising is being powered by LiveRail, a video-ad monetization platform for digital publishers that was acquired earlier this year by Facebook.