Despite years of focus on national media buys, there is a renewed marketer emphasis on local TV.

That is partly because of a new recognition that different media markets have different qualities and consumers, and partly because people are realizing over-the-top TV (OTT) services have the ability to target at local level – like cable before them, perhaps even better.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Kristin Wnuk, head of local and director of sales at Roku, explains what is going on.

Local growth

“The pandemic put a spotlight on how important local media is out in the marketplace,” she says.

Wnuk says this year has revealed how different parts of the US are moving differently in the evolution of OTT and connected TV.

“Not all states were having the same streaming habits when they went into lockdown,” she says.

For example, Tennessee and Kentucky adopted streaming ad different rates, whilst urban markets outpaced rural ones in terms of streaming growth. For example, New York saw a threefold volume of streaming growth versus Watford, North Dakota, Wnuk says.

Agility amid chaos

“Advertisers needed flexibility in their media plans,” she says. “So we did offer that as part of our upfront and allowed advertisers to actually turn media on within a 24-hour period from a zip code to zip code perspective.”

Wnuk is describing the many advertisers which pivoted their creative early in the pandemic, to downplay scenes like touching or large gatherings.

In many cases, it was the agility of OTT platforms that allowed them to make speedy changes, versus traditional television.

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Finding viewers

Streaming services accounted for 25% of all US TV-viewing minutes during Q2 2020, according to Nielsen’s Streaming Meter.

The move to IP-based TV creates an opportunity to measure, track and target individual viewers or households, as well as their location.

That also creates an opportunity to go beyond broad DMAs (designated media areas).

“Tn the New York DMA, there’s over seven and a half million TV households and it can be challenging to really reach that true target and really get granular there in your targeting,” Roku’s Wnuk says.

“Roku creates a relationship with all of their users when they sign up. We’re building up sort of a dataset on each one of our users.

“We understand what our users are watching, what they’re searching for, and that really can help affect a marketer’s decisions. You can leverage Roku’s proprietary data when you’re targeting those audiences.”

Roku’s progress

In Q3, Roku reported a 43% year-on-year jump in active viewer accounts and doubled the account reach of its Roku Channel, one of its content offerings through against which it places ads. It reported a total 46 million active accounts.

More than that, Roku boasted a 90% year-on-year growth in monetized video ad impressions – up from the 50% annual growth it reported in Q2.

Basically, Roku is growing fast, and the pandemic has made it grow faster.

In May, the company unveiled OneView, its own demand-side platform (DSP), making available its ad inventory directly to buyers.

You are watching “Targeted Strategies, Big Impact: TV Powered by Data, Addressability and Consumer Choice,” a leadership video series from Beet.TV and VAB. For more videos, please visit this page.