As far back as the 1990s and earlier, futuristic forecasts of “interactive TV” – with remote-control shopping experiences – were everywhere.

Those predictions came true, but mostly on other screens – laptops, tablets and smartphones. But now shoppable TV is having a moment – and this time the hype is real.

QR codes, another technology which once looked to have been over-estimated, have found a second life enabling in-ad calls-to-action. And now shoppable TV ads are also rising alongside shoppable social media.

At today’s NewFront presentation to TV ad buyers in New York, Roku announced it is  launching new software that will allow viewers to purchase straight from a TV ad, using their Roku remote control.

Pay it again

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Kristina Shepard, Head of Agency Partnerships & National Brand Team Lead, Roku, says the launch will pair-up two Roku developments:

  • Shoppable ad formats.
  • Roku Pay, Roku’s existing payment processing technology.

Roku Pay was already available to developers who wanted to integrate content payments like rentals, subscriptions and pay-per-view inside Roku channels, meaning many viewers have already given Roku an on-file card.

“We’ve been able to find how to make shopping natural on that largest screen in the home,” Shepard says.

“We actually know that Roku users are five times more likely to click on an ad via their remote than scan a QR code.”

One-click purchase

Roku claims to have amassed 61.3 million active accounts as of Q1 2022.

“We are … rolling out a new shopper programme that’ll allow retailers to … allow Roku streamers to purchase their products that they sell with one click of a remote,” Shepard explains.

“We’re partnering with a few retailers that you’ll see more of this summer and actually see it come to life on the platform.

“It’ll be rolled out across the entire platform and exclusively in OneView, our platform built for brands.”

Frictionless retail

The software will mean viewers will not need to enter a card detail or shipping address to buy straight from an ad.

“It’ll all be pre-populated,” Shepard explains. “They could see a product, enter a product page, explore images, details and click the remote with all of their information already stored, get an email from that retailer with information confirmation for their purchase and go right back to streaming.

“We’re aiming to make it a frictionless seamless experience for that consumer that will obviously benefit the retailer and the marketer as well.”

Roku’s pitch

The launch was one plank of Roku’s pitch to ad buyers during IAB NewFronts 2022, the annual season in which digital publishers and platforms aim to secure ad deals by showing off their capabilities.

Other Roku elements include:

  • Several new original shows for its The Roku Channel.
  • Roku Brand Studio productions including The Short List (12 short-form films), Roku Recommends season two, a Variety show based around Roku’s top 10 monthly searches, plus Weekly Shows called The Pop-Off, In Case You Missed It and Live And Let DIY.
  • Microsoft Audience Insights, a partnership to explore how TV advertising – both linear and streaming – impacts online searches.
  • Dynamic Linear Ads.
  • Roku’s Advertising Watermark, a method to protect against ad spoofing.
  • Roku’s clean room.
  • An expanded measurement partner program with marketing mix modeling.