This week was amongst the biggest of the year for ad-tech deals, as over-the-top (OTT) TV platform provider Roku announced its plan to acquire dataxu, a demand-side ad-buying platform, for $150 million.
Roku is the leading provider of add-on OTT devices, according to Strategy Analytics, and is also present natively inside many TV sets. In recent years, it has building on that footprint by branching out in to ad sales. Dataxu offers tools ad buyers use to find viewers on connected TV.
In Forrester’s Q3 New Wave report, Cross-Channel Video Advertising Platforms, published in August, the analyst firm gave dataxu a “differentiated” rating in five product categories.
So, what does Forrester principal analyst Joanna O’Connell think of the just-announced Roku deal?
In this video interview with her colleague, Forrester principal analyst Jim Nail, for Beet.TV, O’Connell says: “It gives (Roku) the opportunity to do all kinds of interesting things around audience extension and the like, which is evidently something that they’re interested in.
“For those two things to marry is really notable,” she says. “Makes sense for Roku, that’s a great thing for them to have. It’s going to shore up the technology that they don’t necessarily have, built in the way that the ecosystem would like them to.”
Roku holds first-party data on its users in unique identifiers it calls RIDAs, helping facilitate targeted advertising. Earlier this year, Adobe Ad Cloud began matching marketers’ own audience segments to RIDAs, meaning buyers who use Adobe as a demand-side platform (DSP) can now end up buying Roku ads more easily.
Roku also offers 15- and 30-second video commercials but also background wallpaper sponsorships, sponsored content hubs or advertiser-funded free movie nights.
Just over a year ago, Roku launched a marketplace where TV networks can sell their ads to target specific audiences.
Now O’Connell is pondering the market impact of Roku buying dataxu.
“What does it mean for buyers?,” she said. “That’s sort of a larger question. Does it limit their ability to get access to Roku and the variety of ways that they’ve gotten access to it before?
“Does it create some higher walls, where there were necessarily such high walls before? Does it complicate their ability to do the kind of truly converged, planning, buying and measurement that we’re interested in seeing?
“Remains to be seen. But that was my first thought.”
This video was produced at the Beet Retreat leadership event hosted Publicis Media in New York. The event and video series is sponsored by FreeWheel and LiveRamp. For more videos from the event, please visit this page.