Paramount+ Secures “Neighborhood” in Roku City (Exclusive) – Hollywood Reporter

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The streaming service will be the first entertainment brand to secure virtual real estate on Roku’s home screen city.
By Alex Weprin
Media & Business Writer
The streaming service Paramount+ has secured some prime new real estate: its own “neighborhood” in Roku City, the virtual world that serves as a home screen for Roku devices.
Earlier this month Roku announced that it would be offering a new opportunity for advertisers to buy custom placement within Roku City. Paramount+ is the first entertainment company to take advantage of the offering.
Under the deal with Paramount+, the streaming service will get its own neighborhood in Roku City from May 25-29. And just as the classic Roku City featured recognizable characters and locations from films and TV shows, the Paramount+ neighborhood will incorporate people and places from films like Top Gun: Maverick and Transformers to TV shows like Star Trek and Paw Patrol. There will also be billboards in Roku City promoting shows and movies, enabling users to click once and be taken directly to the content.

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“Millions of people stroll through it every day. It’s a vast city where our users are delighted with changing seasons, unique architecture, and they’re transported to new views they haven’t seen before,” says Peter Hamilton, director of ad innovation for Roku, adding that the Paramount+ partnership “demonstrates the way in which Roku allows brands to surprise and delight streamers with advertising that’s meaningful and memorable.”
“Fans are always looking for those Easter eggs and the subtle changes [in Roku City], and the team just thought what an amazing palette to be able to bring the Paramount mountain and many of our beloved franchises to Roku City in something that, you know, was new, fun and disruptive,” adds Domenic DiMeglio, executive vp and chief marketing officer for Paramount Streaming.
DiMeglio says that as his company has sought to market Paramount+, it has looked to complement its more traditional media strategy with other options that engage entertainment fans. “It’s fostering the fandom versus being marketed to.”
“We at Paramount+ have been doing that since day one, with our expedition of Paramount mountain and the subsequent mountain of entertainment campaigns that we’ve run, and one of the things that we love seeing in the fan feedback is just the unexpected and surprising collection of talent and characters,” he adds.

Roku adds that its Roku City advertising beta has already filled up, just a few weeks after unveiling it at its newfront in New York City. Hamilton says the company is already thinking of ways it can further explore the city with other brands.
“We continue to think about how Roku City will evolve and how to grow and expand, and certainly we want to collaborate with brands that are not just media and entertainment brands,” Hamilton says. The company says McDonald’s had signed on as its initial launch sponsor.
“How is it that we can connect to those viewers in ways that don’t feel like you’re beating them over the head, and that feel like something that adds to their experience, and adds some whimsy and delightful context,” Hamilton adds. “This is one of those executions, and it’s one of the biggest ones we’ve done.”
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