comScore to Offer OTT Ratings for Ads on Roku

Roku has reached an agreement that enables comScore to measure and create syndicated ratings for the advertising in over-the-top video.

comScore estimates that publishers on Roku account for about 50% of the fast growing OTT streaming market, and Roku says that programmers and media buyers are demanding third-party measurement of ads that run on the platform.

Viewing on the Roku platform will be part of comScore's validated Campaign Essentials (vCE) ratings and will include demographic information such as age and sex of viewers, and media buyers will have access to TV-like metrics including reach, frequency and gross ratings points.

Many digital video platforms offer advertisers only their own data on viewing. By making a deal with Roku, it is offering advertisers and programmers third-party measurement, which should make programming delivered by Roku more attractive to advertisers.

“This is something there’s been strong customer demand for. It’s been something that has been on both of our lists for some time and now we’re coming together to actually do the engineering work and make sure it does get done,” said Timur Yarnall, senior VP at comScore, which is competing with Nielsen to provide cross-platform measurement of traditional and digital video.

“When Roku started to get into the ad business a couple of years ago, it became clear to us that like a lot of new platforms for OTT the consumption came first and ad tech and monetization had to play catch-up,” said Scott Rosenberg, VP of advertising and audience development at Roku.

“The partnership with comScore is just another important notch in our efforts to solve for what we know the market needs. Advertisers and agencies want trusted independent third-party measurement for the audiences they deliver. We want entities like comScore to have the opportunity to measure advertising on our platform so that advertisers can confidently invest in OTT advertising,” Rosenberg said.

comScore will offer syndicated ratings that will show how programming from each publisher on Roku is performing. While Roku sells some ads, most of the advertising on the platform is sold by individual publishers.

“My sales team will be a beneficiary, but I consider that secondary to what it does for a CBS, a Fox and ABC and their ability to sell this way,” Rosenberg said.

Now, most programming via Roku is on demand, but the amount of live programming is growing.

comScore’s measurement software is being embedded into Roku’s ad stack, enabling comScore to count ads each time they’re viewed. Demographic data comes from consumers who register their devices with Roku.

For comScore, the deal with Roku is the beginning in being able to provide ratings for all over-the-top viewing.

“This is a step for us. We think OTT is critical,” said Yarnall. With Roku accounting for the biggest share of OTT viewing, this marks “a key step in terms of measuring across all platforms, being a true cross platform currency. And we all know there’s really just one currency today in the TV space and we want there to be an additional currency or a basket of currencies across platforms.”

“One of the most important things about OTT advertising is that it promises the best of TV and the best of digital, so you can have the brand impact, the sight, sound and motion of TV, but you can also marshal all the advantages of digital ad tech,” Rosenberg added. “Certainly one of the advantages of digital ad tech is the ability to have multiple third parties, multiple currencies, multiple ways of measuring up and down the marketing funnel how users are engaging with and reacting to your ads.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.