Todd Spangler, writing for Variety, discusses a new arrangement between Roku and Nielsen. For those unfamiliar, Roku makes streaming-media devices, and software to stream content, and Nielsen is a firm that specializes in tracking what people are watching.
About half of the 250 most-watched Roku channels, including CBS All Access, already deliver ads, but in selling that inventory publishers have had to extrapolate audience demographics for ad impressions.
Now, Roku channel partners will be able to measure audience according to Nielsen’s standard demo breakdowns. Nielsen will collect usage data from Roku devices (stripped of personally identifying info) and then will use its National People Meter television panel to assign audiences.
TV advertising is faltering largely because agencies and clients expect the kinds of measurements that they can get through online advertising. Providing this data through Nielsen is going to be very attractive to television networks looking to satisfy their demanding advertisers.
Roku is often overlooked by tech press that covers Apple, but the devices are quite popular.
In 2014, Roku users streamed more than 3 billion hours of video. (For the sake of comparison, Netflix said subscribers worldwide consumed 10 billion hours in the first quarter of 2015 alone.)
Apple TV does have some ad tracking through Apple’s iAd platform, but how that’s working, and what their plans are for it in the future, are kind of a mystery. I’ve speculated that if Apple is getting the old-guard, American TV broadcasters to offer streaming on Apple TV and other iOS devices, then it’s a forgone conclusion that they’re going to provide advertising, and advertising tracking, because that’s the carrot that’s going to move this along. They don’t really have a stick (literally, heh).