Roku is getting into the branded content business.
The streaming platform, which now has over 50 million active accounts, will launch the Roku advertising brand studio ahead of the TV upfronts and IAB Newfronts. The new studio will “produce new creative ad formats and programming, full-fledged TV programming for marketers who want to go beyond that traditional 30 second ad unit,” according to Roku vp of ad marketing Dan Robbins.
“This might be advertiser-commissioned TV programs, interactive video ads, new ad units and more,” Robbins tells The Hollywood Reporter. “This might be Roku filming and producing a cooking show for a grocery brand … Or an adventure documentary for an outdoor brand that wants to reach cord-cutters.”
The company will reveal more details on the studio, including some of its first clients and projects, around the upfronts.
To jumpstart its branded content business, Roku has cut something like an acqui-hiring deal with the comedy studio and entertainment brand Funny or Die that will see its “super talented team of producers, editors, designers, creatives and more” join Roku, according to Robbins, alongside Funny or Die executives Chris Bruss and Brian Toombs. As part of the deal, Funny or Die is exiting the branded content business.
In addition, former Snap executive Rachel Daly Helfman will join the studio.
The new studio also continues Roku’s content expansion, with the company acquiring Quibi’s library of programming, and more recently the library and studio for This Old House. Those programs, as well as original programming developed by the content studio, will live in the Roku Channel app.
Some campaigns from the studio may also live on Roku’s home screen, or elsewhere on the platform such as in third-party apps, Robbins says.
“The first TV ads were just images over a radio ad, the first streaming ads were just 30 second TV spots,” Robbins says. “Our goal with this content studio is to help marketers create something entirely new for streaming, and to build branded content for a world where all TV is streamed.”