LOS ANGELES – Consumers are reaching their limit on how much they’re willing to pay for monthly subscriptions to streaming video services. Those budgetary constraints are pushing many of them to seek out advertising-supported platforms that are free to watch.

“What we’ve found in the past few years is that free content is growing extremely fast. For a long time, the No. 1 search term on Roku was ‘free,’” Julian Mintz, national brand sales lead at streaming device maker Roku, said in this interview with Justin Lebben, co-founder and director of Mediatel Events, at Beet.TV’s Beet Retreat.

The growing audience for free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) provides an opportunity for marketers to reach audiences that are watching less traditional linear TV. Broadcast networks have fewer viewers, and the remaining audience tends to be older than the average streaming customer.

“What we’ve seen is marketers looking to the TV screen, and to connected TV specifically, to help find those eyeballs that have either moved from traditional TV or aged down,” Mintz said.

CTV’s Advantage

In addition to making streaming devices, Roku also has the Roku Channel to highlight the best free content viewers can find. The company has expanded its lineup of original programming, including its acquisition of content library of Quibi, the mobile video startup that shut down in 2020.

Advertising on connected (CTV) platforms combines the emotional impact of linear TV with the targeting and measurability of digital media, Mintz said.

“The effectiveness of advertising can be really downplayed,” he said. “One of the things about CTV is that’s all of the impact of the television screen – sight, sound, motion, big format in the living room, which has always proven to be effective – but blended with what makes digital media effective.”

More than 40% of Roku’s viewers said they had paused an ad to shop for a product, indicating the power of interactivity and targeting. That capability can transform the traditional 30-second spot into a performance ad. The company also launched the Roku Brand Studio to help marketers create innovative campaigns, and created Roku OneView to offer household reach across all types of video programming.

“We can connect those dots along the customer journey for a marketer,” Mintz said. “We spend a lot of time on making sure that marketers truly understand the power of our platform and our solution set, not just that we have a channel with a lot of incremental reach. We can truly be an end-to-end, full-funnel solution.”

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