UM and Roku Partner to Increase Equity for Minority-Owned Networks Ahead of TV Upfronts

by Savoy Staff

Today, UM, a global media agency network of IPG Mediabrands, announced an industry-first partnership with Roku, Inc., the #1 TV streaming platform in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico*, that will provide the agency and its sister agencies exclusive solutions to measure unrated, minority-owned networks for the first time. The deal provides planning and investment teams with access to critical linear TV data ahead of the 2023 TV Upfronts, giving smaller, minority-owned networks opportunity alongside larger, rated networks.

Today, many of the 35+ smaller, minority-owned networks do not show up in traditional TV measurement. Panels may lack the scale to capture emerging media properties, and setup costs may be prohibitive. This ratings gap leaves marketers guessing about the audience and inhibits advertising spend.

“We continuously work to identify the challenges and gaps in the marketplace as part of our ongoing commitment to drive equitable and inclusive business practices,” said Deidre Small-Landau, Head of Business Equity, IPG Mediabrands. “Lack of linear ratings information is a significant impediment to why brands are not investing in minority-owned networks, and we look forward to creating more growth opportunities for clients and minority-owned networks alike across the Mediabrands family of brands.”

Roku is leveraging its proprietary Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) technology to generate two sets of comprehensive monthly reports for UM and IPG Mediabrands. The first provides average viewership by network by daypart and reach per channel, designed to be used for planning purposes. The second set shows actual viewership by program by day, validating how many viewers are exposed to advertising content, providing insight into how specific campaigns are performing.

Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) is a technology that, when enabled, allows Roku to recognize the programs and commercials viewed over antenna, cable, and satellite on Roku TVs. As the #1 selling smart TV OS in the U.S. as of Q4 2022, Roku brings broad reach and a direct consumer relationship that offers accurate, scaled insights.

Roku found that, between December 2022 and February 2023, previously unmeasured minority-owned TV networks reached an estimated 16.8 million U.S. households on traditional TV and delivered more than 400 million advertising impressions. Roku’s reporting clarifies the opportunity for brands to partner with minority-owned channels.

“You can’t invest in what you can’t measure,” said Kristina Shepard, Co-Head of U.S. Brand Sales, Roku. “Our goal is TV made better for everyone. We’re thrilled to bring unique scale, data, and technology forward to solve industry challenges and improve media equity together.”

This partnership is the latest in UM’s efforts to generate more equity in the marketplace for minority-owned media. Last fall, the agency released its groundbreaking Future Impact study, which proved for the first time that brands that support equity values in the workplace and in media will see double the impact in purchase intent. UM also helped spearhead the launch of the Equity Upfronts with MAGNA, the intelligence and investment arm of IPG Mediabrands, a now-annual event that introduced minority-owned media to the Upfronts schedule for the first time ever.

“Roku has been consistently open to partnering with us in new and different ways, and their technology is uniquely capable of measuring the viewership of unrated networks,” says Marcy Greenberger, EVP, Managing Partner, Integrated Investment, UM. “Our clients will benefit from the data-backed insights that are typically unavailable, creating rationale and incentive to expand their network consideration sets and meet equity investment objectives while still maintaining confidence in their spend and reach. It’s a win-win for everyone, especially minority-owned networks that want to show advertisers the value they bring to the table.”

*based on hours streamed, Dec 2022, Hypothesis Group

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