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The Show Next Door is made in partnership with Maker’s Mark and is the second show created by the branded content studio, which formed in March. (The first, Roku Recommends, is a 15-minute weekly program hosted by Maria Menounos and Andrew “Hawk” Hawkins that helps Roku users figure out what to stream.)
The first two episodes of the show are available on Wednesday, while the remaining four episodes will release on a weekly basis. Viewers will get to see Park — who is hosting a talk show for the first time — in conversation with guests like Tony Hale, Terrell Owens, Fortune Feimster, Jason Mraz, Mark Duplass and Gina Yashere over cocktails (bourbon-based, of course).
Brian Toombs, the head of content at Roku Brand Studio and former executive at Funny or Die, told The Hollywood Reporter that the show is “emblematic” of what the branded content studio is trying to achieve with its hybrid entertainment-slash-advertising content. “It looks and feels like something that you would see on a streaming service like Roku, but it’s a very innovative way to work with brands,” Toombs said.
Comedy was also natural entry point for the Brand Studio for its second show offering, given that Roku saw streaming hours of comedy content increase by 798 percent compared to the previous year, according to Toombs. But for the advertising-entertainment hybrid to be effective, Toombs said viewers have to feel like they aren’t being “talked at” or that the brand integration feels unnatural. Having drinks with friends? “People are not going to bat an eye on that,” Toombs said. “Consumers like to be engaged. I know that sounds like a cliché, but then when you actually do it, I feel like it’s very satisfying and it becomes a win-win [for advertisers and consumers].”
KK Hall, the global senior marketing director for Maker’s Mark, said the partnership with Roku — which has over 53 million active users — was appealing because it offered a way to “go beyond the traditional ad experience on the largest screen in the home.”
Future projects in development by the Brand Studio include docuseries, scripted and unscripted shows and events, according to Toombs. “Anything that you would see on a streaming service, we can do with brands,” Toombs said.
The Show Next Door is available to stream on The Roku Channel and on Maker’s Mark’s social media channels.
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