The Roku Channel will provide free movies supported by advertising. According to Roku, the programming will have significantly less ads than a typical broadcast TV program (less than half the amount according to Roku). Hopefully it won’t consist of the same ad over and over like some ad supported services.
“We’re always looking for ways to add value and make TV better for our customers,” said Rob Holmes, Vice President of Programming at Roku. “With The Roku Channel, we’re responding to consumer demand and helping content publishers deliver content through a new experience that makes finding free entertainment easy for our customers.”
This new channel also adds another weapon in Roku’s bid to become profitable. a recent IPO filing by Roku showed that while the majority of it’s streaming hours came from some big players such as Netflix and Hulu, little of it’s revenue did. If Roku can steer views to it’s own add supported channel, Roku can accelerate it’s revenue growth.
The Roku Channel will feature quality films such as Ali, The Karate Kid, Legally Blonde, and many others from leading studios including Lionsgate, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Sony Pictures Entertainment and Warner Brothers among others. The Roku Channel will also help existing channel publishers drive additional viewership of their content on the Roku platform. Publishers participating include American Classics, Fandor, FilmRise, Nosey, OVGuide, Popcornflix, Vidmark, and YuYu; others are expected to be added over time.
“There is tremendous opportunity for our content to be viewed on the Roku platform,” said Danny Fisher, Chief Executive Officer at FilmRise. “Now with The Roku Channel launch, Roku is offering its customers even greater value by giving them free content while enabling publishers like us to benefit from simple discovery that drives greater engagement.”
The Roku Channel will be available through a phased roll out over the coming weeks. Once available for their device, customers can easily add the channel from the Roku Channel Store and begin using for free.
Story Update: I have received questions from several Roku users asking if The Roku Channel will be available in Canada and The United Kingdom during the announced rollout, I reached out to a spokesperson for Roku who said, “Currently, The Roku Channel is only available to Roku customers in the U.S. We haven’t announced anything regarding availability of The Roku Channel outside of the U.S. at this time.”