Roku confirms video ads are coming to the home screen for millions — what you need to know

(Image credit: Roku)

Roku has confirmed plans to follow in Amazon's footsteps and start adding video ads to its home screen. Unfortunately, ads are a staple of the streaming landscape in 2024, but Roku has previously stuck to static ads that appear both on its home screen and app.

That's all going to change soon as CEO Anthony Wood confirmed in an earnings call that video ads will soon form a part of the home screen experience on the best Roku devices and smart TVs running the company's platform.

We don't know the full scope of the changes yet, but after being questioned on ad revenue and the home screen, Wood responded that what has traditionally been a static ad will soon become the company's first video ad.

The full response, shared by Cord Cutters News, was:

"To give you some examples of the kinds of things we’re looking at on the home screen, on the home screen today, there’s the premier video app we called the Marquee and that traditionally has been a static ad. We’re going to add video to that ad. So that will be the first video ad in that we add to the home screen. That will be a big change for us.”

He added: “We’re also testing other types of video ad units, looking at other experiences we can add to the home screen that would be where we can innovate more video advertising. So that’s something we’re looking at."

On the home screen today, there’s the premier video app we called the Marquee and that traditionally has been a static ad. We’re going to add video to that ad.

Anthony Wood, Roku CEO

Crucially, no details or dates for this roll-out were added. So it's not clear when Roku will be looking to make this change, nor whether it will be a global shift or just targeted at certain markets. However, given the weakening of the current ad market, Roku is understandably looking at ways it can improve its revenue.

It's not immediately clear which part of the home screen is the "Marquee" block that Wood refers to, but that at least sounds better than Amazon's approach of loading a full-screen ad as soon as you turn on the service.

Given that Roku is one of the major leading TV software providers and has a robust hardware network including the likes of the Roku Plus Series 4K QLED TV, perhaps this move was inevitable — but it sure is likely to sting a bit.   

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Jeff is UK Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide looking after the day-to-day output of the site’s British contingent. Rising early and heading straight for the coffee machine, Jeff loves nothing more than dialling into the zeitgeist of the day’s tech news.

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  • Paul_Atreides
    I have to thank Roku for assisting me in making my choice to use the numerous ad free services out there.

    So far I do successfully block Ad... Err YouTube ads 99.9% of the time. the ironic thing is that when you listen to old time radio the people knew how to do ads and they are organic and actually part of the program. I listen to ads from 50-60 years ago and actually want to look at the products for the companies that are still in business today.

    I see an ad from the same company today and it is obnoxious and intrusive and I want nothing to do with the company and product. I have to Compliment content creators when they do their own ads because many actually do make them as reasonably organic as possible and I watch those and patronize their sponsors.