Game On Pause? Roku Wants To Fill That Gap With Ads, New Patent Shows

Zinger Key Points
  • Roku's new patent hints at ads during TV pauses, aiming to monetize idle time.
  • The move could be driven by financial motives, and raises concerns about ad intrusion into personal entertainment experiences.

Roku Inc ROKU envisions a future where televisions could display advertisements during pauses in movies or games.

What Happened: According to a report by the tech newsletter Lowpass, a Roku patent indicates that the company has identified idle time when the TV is not actively used as a valuable advertising opportunity.

This approach expands beyond their current practice of leasing ad space on the Roku City screensaver to include potentially inserting ads into third-party content via an HDMI connection.

See Also: Explore Roku’s patent for displaying ads during TV pauses. Understand the financial motives and potential impacts on user experience.

“When an owner of a Roku TV takes a short break from playing a game on their Xbox, or streaming something on an Apple TV device connected to the TV set, Roku would use that break to show ads,” the newsletter explains.

“Roku engineers have even explored ways to figure out what the consumer is doing with their TV-connected device in order to display relevant advertising.”

This detection could be achieved through various means, such as comparing video frames, analyzing audio for prolonged silence, or utilizing HDMI CEC protocols to monitor play and pause commands.

This proposed ad injection system is designed to only activate during pauses to avoid interrupting active viewing or gameplay, a consideration meant to temper potential user frustration.

Why It Matters: The idea of ads intruding into previously ad-free spaces, such as during a pause in an offline DVD movie, could raised concerns over the increasing encroachment of advertisements into personal entertainment experiences.

Roku’s motivation for exploring such technology is partly financial. It follows a year (2023) where the company reported a loss of over $40 million on hardware sales. But Roku earned $1.6 billion from advertisements and services.

This patent could represent a strategy to monetize the usage of Roku TVs in ways that do not rely on app usage, such as when a consumer primarily uses the TV for gaming consoles.

ROKU Price Action: Roku shares are currently trading at $59.85, down 0.65% in the past 24 hours, according to Benzinga Pro.

Read Next: Roku Enters High-End TV Market, Challenging Samsung and LG with New Pro Series

Image credits: renata colella on Shutterstock.

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