Days after announcing its plan to raise $100 million from an IPO, Roku says this morning that it will dip its toe into the programming business by launching The Roku Channel.
The ad-supported service for Roku users will be phased in “over the coming weeks,” the company says.
It will offer older movies from studios including Lionsgate, MGM, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Warner Brothers. Movies to be shown on Roku Channel include Ali, The Karate Kid, and Legally Blonde.
In addition, Roku Channel will have content from companies on the platform — including American Classics, Fandor, FilmRise, Nosey, OVGuide, Popcornflix, Vidmark, and YuYu — that want to attract additional viewers.
Other content providers “are expected to be added over time,” the company says.
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Roku VP of Programming Rob Holmes says that with the new offering “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.”
FilmRise CEO Danny Fisher says Roku Channel offers its customers “even greater value by giving them free content while enabling publishers like us to benefit from simple discovery that drives greater engagement.”
Roku says it offers more than 5,000 channels in the U.S.
CEO Anthony Wood says in the preliminary IPO filing last week that Roku’s mission “is to be the TV streaming platform that connects the entire TV ecosystem. We connect consumers with the content they love. We help content publishers find their audience and make money. We are pushing TV advertising out of the 1940s—when Bulova watches launched the first TV ad—and into the data-driven, machine learning, era of relevant and interactive TV ads. We partner with TV brands and service operators so they can thrive in this rapidly changing ad world. will be powered by a purpose-built operating system optimized for streaming.”
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