Roku and UM's partnership: What new opportunities does it unlock for marketers?

Published: April 24, 2023

min read

TV viewership data ratings on an individual or household level are crucial for marketers for audience segmentation and re-targeting purposes.

However, due to limitations in panel-based measurement, such as panel size and the cost for networks, minority-owned TV networks have had only limited access to traditional ratings used in striking deals with advertisers.

Although their market size is smaller, their ability to draw in relevant audiences is higher.

With the 2023 TV upfront season around the corner, UM and Roku made a remarkable deal in order to bring equity to the marketplace.

UM, a global media agency and network of IPG Mediabrands, recently announced a partnership with Roku, a TV streaming platform in the United States that will provide the agency with exclusive solutions to measure unrated, minority-owned networks for the first time.

Now, the industry-first partnership between these companies will allow smaller, minority-owned networks to compete alongside larger, rated networks.

As part of our ongoing commitment to driving equitable and inclusive business practises, we continuously work to identify the challenges and gaps in the marketplace.

Deidre Small-Landau,

Head of Business Equity at IPG Mediabrands

Roku will share audience metrics with UM and its sister agencies using its Automated Content Recognition technology, which can determine what an entire household is watching on a Roku device via antenna, cable, or satellite.

The measurement will present UM with two monthly reports: one for media planning, showing average audience size by daypart across networks and average reach per channel, and the other for measurement, showing exact viewership for each programme and campaign performance.

The partnership, which will be limited to IPG Mediabrands for a period of one year, builds on Roku's long-standing relationship with Magna, the agency network. The collaboration also complements the agency network's other efforts in diverse investment, such as its annual equity upfront.

What opportunities does it unlock?

The United States is a melting pot of cultures and backgrounds due to its vast size and diverse heritage. To effectively promote products in the US market, marketers must reach out to a diverse range of audiences.

However, in order to explore minority-owned television networks so as to reach diverse audiences, marketers must have visibility into the viewership of diverse-owned media. Though it was not always an easy game, the new partnership between Um and Roku makes it possible for marketers.

Aside from providing new opportunities for minority-owned networks, the partnership benefits marketers in a variety of ways.

Improve their audience reach:

Without any guesswork, marketers will be able to plan and invest in minority-owned networks more effectively because they will have access to the average audience size and exact viewership for each programme. Correspondingly, they can gain more insights into their target audience's needs and preferences over time by investing in them. As a result, by tailoring the campaigns accordingly, marketers can better reach their audiences.

Optimise their advertising budget:

Just because they couldn’t get enough data on various minority-owned networks, brands had to repeatedly invest in the same networks. But now the new partnership will provide more options and power for marketers to carefully analyse and invest in different networks. This way, they can better optimise their ad spend and also increase their chances of reaching new audiences.

Reduce competition:

As a result of this collaboration, marketers will diversify their ad spend on various minority-owned networks where they believe they could reach their target audiences. Thus, the competition in the space will be reduced. On the other hand, to differentiate their products from others in the market, the chances for brands to try different creative approaches to position themselves stronger are higher. Which, may in turn help them draw audience attention and create better ad impact with new audiences.

In a nutshell, the partnership between Roku and UM is all about bringing positive change and equity to the marketplace while providing new opportunities for minority-owned networks and marketers.


Bill Walker

Bill is a marketing strategist who believes in the power of storytelling. He's known for his creativity, wit, and ability to connect with audiences across all channels. When he's not crafting marketing campaigns, you can find him hiking in the mountains or reading a good book.


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