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Branded Content Boosts Engagement With Viewers: Roku’s Chris Bruss

Consumers are exposed to hundreds advertising messages every day, challenging brands to cut through the clutter. Branded content is one way that marketers can integrate their messaging with programming that draws viewers.

Roku, the maker of streaming devices that connect TVs to the internet, this year formed the Roku Brand Studio to help advertisers create branded experiences. It signed a deal with digital comedy producer Funny or Die to hire several executives. Among those professionals was Chris Bruss, the former president of digital content at Funny or Die who now leads the Roku Brand Studio.

“The goal of my group is to figure out how to take those advertisers beyond the 30-second spot,” Bruss said in this interview with Beet.TV. “We can do that in a number of different ways.”

Bruss’s group specializes in creating content that can range from short-form spots to long-form shows that showcase brands. Roku’s research found that a branded experience can lead to consumer purchase intent that’s four times as much as for a 30-second spot.

“In the Roku Brand Studio, we have both the data and also just the experience that shows us that branded content and branded experiences are going to create more impact with our audience,” he said. “You can create truly and genuinely entertaining content, and invite that audience into be part of that. Now, they’re not just watching your ad, they’re in your ad.”

‘The Show Next Door’

Among the recent examples of Roku’s productions are “The Show Next Door,” an interview show created in collaboration with Maker’s Mark, the brand of Kentucky bourbon made by Beam Suntory. The show appears on the Roku Channel, the company’s hub for ad-supported video on demand (AVOD).

“We understood what their [Maker’s Mark] brand goals and what their marketing goals were, and how to incorporate their brand and their product into that show,” Bruss said. “We produced that show from creative all the way through to post-production.”

Data-Rich Platform

Roku can gather detailed insights about viewer behavior and consumer preferences, which help advertisers to improve their targeting and to develop ad creative that resonates with those audiences. After seeing that viewers spend an average of seven minutes looking for things to watch, Roku Brand Studio developed a weekly show called “Roku Recommends” to highlight the best new programming. The show also offers an opportunity for marketers to showcase their brands.

“As brand marketers are thinking about streaming, I think that understanding the power of that platform – and not just how big the audience is, but how you can gain insights from that audience and then you can target that audience in really powerful ways,” Bruss said.

You are watching “How Marketers Can Go TV Streaming First,” a Beet.TV leadership series presented by Roku. For more videos, please visit this page.