- Roku saw a massive hit with cancellations in March at the beginning of the pandemic, letting businesses out of deals as they saw fit.
- But the company’s ad business bounced back amid a broader shift to streaming ads during the stay-at-home year.
- Alison Levin, Roku’s VP of global ad revenue and marketing solutions, said the company gained a record number of clients in the third quarter.
In late spring 2020, Alison Levin was outside in her backyard with her young daughter and golden retriever. Both were running as quickly as they could — at one another, for the same ball. Inevitably, they collided.
“She went down, and we held our breaths,” she said. “And then she popped right up and just kept running.”
Levin, Roku‘s VP of global ad revenue and marketing solutions, saw this as a metaphor of sorts. Roku, where she’s helmed the ad sales business since 2015, saw massive cancellations in March at the beginning of the pandemic. Roku let businesses out of deals as advertisers pulled or paused budgets across the board.
At first, it wasn’t pretty. Roku stock had been trading at $127.50 on February 3, before pandemic volatility sent stocks diving. It cratered, shedding more than half its value to hit a low of $63.84 on March 16.
“We got hard at work doing what it was that we were there to do. Focusing on the things that were unique to us: Flexibility, precision, real-time analytics, all those things matter,” Levin said. “Plus, the background of streaming…