Roku Follows Quibi Deal By Slating Premiere Of Action Drama ‘Cypher’

AP Photo/Patrick Sison

The Roku Channel, which entered the original programming realm this year with its acquisition of shows from failed streaming startup Quibi, has slated the premiere of action drama Cypher.

The series will have its premiere on March 19 in the U.S. and Canada. Roku emphasized that the show is a licensed program, not, in its view, a true original since it was produced elsewhere and owned by a third party during production.

Still, the Roku run will be the first appearance for the seven-episode show on any domestic platform. It will be free for viewers on the Roku Channel, the ad-supported outlet that Roku recently said has reach to households with 63 million people. The channel’s viewership has doubled over the past year.

Quibi programming is expected to roll out on the Roku Channel later this year.

Cypher stars Martin Dingle Wall as an FBI cryptanalyst who deciphers a coded document and realizes it is a hit list. (Watch the trailer for it above.) The show is produced by Aroma Studios & United Bros, and Zeus Zamani is executive producer and showrunner. Cast members also include Jaclyn Hales, Mary Helen Schmidt, Lauren Gravitt, Brian Krause, John Reardon, Eve Mauro and John J. Jordan. Tamer Mortada is an executive producer and the series is written and directed by Majdi Smiri.

Rob Holmes, VP of programming at Roku, said the show joins a lineup of 40,000 movie and TV titles on the Roku Channel, which has more than 165 live and on-demand offerings. It ranks as one of the most-watched free offerings across the Roku platform.

“Our partnership with Aroma Studios and United Bros for the exclusive licensing and premiere of Cypher aligns with our broader AVOD content strategy that will continue to drive the growth of the Roku Channel going forward,” Holmes said.

Sweta Patel, Roku’s VP of engagement growth marketing, said acquiring the series attests to the company’s quest for “ways to elevate the streaming experience for our viewers and get them to great entertainment easily and for free.”

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