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Roku City is about to get a bit more crowded.
The recognizable screen saver on Roku devices is best known for featuring locations, buildings and characters from beloved films and TV shows (like King Kong scaling the Empire State building, or a fire house that looks suspiciously like the headquarters for the Ghostbusters).
But at its Newfront presentation to marketers on Tuesday, Roku unveiled a much requested new offering: Roku City brand experiences, which will let brands “become unmissable to the nearly 40 million homes that enjoy Roku City each month,” per the company. First up is fast food giant McDonald’s.
While the Roku City real estate may be the headline offering this year, Roku also leaned into its scale, with Weird Al Yankovic opening its Newfront event to tout his recent film, and new Roku content and advertising chief Charlie Collier telling assembled buyers and brands that “Roku is not fighting for turf in the streaming wars, Roku is the turf.”
Roku’s scale as the platform of choice for streaming TV is well known in the industry, a fact also underscored by another data point that came up in the presentation: Of all households that streamed the last Super Bowl, half were doing so on Roku devices.
Other offerings included home and garden and sports experiences, which will collect content from those genres and allow for sponsors to surround that programming, new commerce offerings, and a “primetime reach guarantee,” that will let advertisers “buy with assurance that their campaign will reach more TV households in primetime with Roku than the average program on a top-five cable network on traditional TV,” per the company.
Roku’s content announcements all leaned heavily into reality and unscripted fare (not a surprise, given the company’s focus on less expensive options), but that should also allow them to run without concern from the ongoing writers strike.
Among the shows are an unscripted comedy series starring Charlie Puth called Charlie Makes a Record; the bilingual travel series Carpe DM with Juanpa; a reality rom-com series Meet Me in Rome; another season of Jessica Alba’s Honest Renovations; and food shows Special Delivery, Celebrity Family Cook-Off, and a new season of The Great American Baking Show.
“Everything we do, from our first player to our latest Originals, is about getting you closer to your customers,” said David Eilenberg, head of content for Roku Media, in a statement. “Many are renting you ad space, but Roku is building an entire ad-friendly world where the viewer, content, and advertising come together at every step of the streamer’s journey.”
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