Roku buys Nielsen tech to better target ads on traditional TV

Advertisers could replace local and national ads with targeted ones in real time.


Roku has purchased Nielsen’s Advanced Video Advertising unit, which will change the way ads are served on its platform. The streaming hardware-maker now owns Nielsen’s video automatic content recognition technology and dynamic ad insertion (DAI) system as part of the deal, which is expected to be finalized in the second quarter of 2021. Louqman Parampath, Roku's VP of product management for advertising, explained in a statement that those technologies will enable the company "to deliver the benefits of TV streaming advertising to traditional TV."

Advertisers could, for instance, detect ads as they come on and replace national and local advertisements with ones targeting viewers watching on Roku platforms in real time. Parampath says Roku "will bring the promise of DAI to the market for the first time ever at scale," and that could translate to a better TV watching experience" — so long as you don't mind getting targeted ads, that is. In addition, the companies also entered a long-term agreement that would see Roku use Nielsen's Digital Ad Ratings for advertisers in its ad-buying platform. That would give Roku a way to measure digital content ratings for shows and movies watched on its smart TVs and streaming players.