Roku is looking to make a bigger name for itself in the streaming space. No, it’s not launching new hardware but planning more than 50 original shows for its free Roku Channel. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal (via), the company will develop the new originals in the next two years. It wants to make the platform the ultimate destination for free content.
Launched in 2008, Roku has more than 56 million active accounts as of November 2021, according to its latest earnings report. As noted by the new WSJ report, around 155 million people stream content on their TV using Roku devices. Half of them reportedly watch the Roku Channel, which offers plenty of TV shows, movies, and live news for free, with ads.
The company now wants to better monetize those users with new content. Since ads are the primary source of revenue for Roku, it reportedly sells 100 percent of its ads on the Roku Channel. The streaming hardware giant only sells 30 percent of ads within other apps.
Roku to launch more original shows as it looks to boost ad sales
Roku is the most popular brand in the streaming hardware business. The company makes it possible to stream content from platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and pretty much everything else on your TV. You get access to both free and paid content through its devices, which come at various prices and differ in features. In other words, Roku is one of the easiest ways to watch TV without cable. But the company no longer wants to remain just a gateway to streaming services. It wants to become a streaming giant itself.
In January this year, Roku acquired the short-lived short-form streaming platform Quibi, signaling its intent. Soon after that acquisition, it posted a job listing for a “Lead Production Attorney” who will look after its “original episodic and feature-length” productions, which pretty much confirmed the plans.
In April, the company officially entered into original content, promising to premier over 75 original series and films on the Roku Channel in 2021. A bulk of those comes from Quibi. It’s now preparing to add 50 more free originals to the platform over the next couple of years. Some of the new titles are also reportedly acquired from Quibi.
Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas is the first original Roku movie. A spinoff of the NBC series Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, the film debuts on December 1st. Roku has also reportedly acquired the rights to the Canadian television comedy series Children Ruin Everything. It is planning to add the title to the Roku Channel in 2022.