The streaming provider used the acquisition to declare its entry into the original programming business, and subsequently announced other projects and acquisitions. Today’s announcement of the originals label mentioned that more information about the Quibi lineup, including release dates, would be disclosed in May. Roku is scheduled to give an online presentation to advertisers at the NewFronts on May 3.
Roku Originals will be available on the company’s free, ad-supported destination, the Roku Channel. More than 75 originals, including a dozen unreleased series, will stream for the first time on The Roku Channel this year. The announcement teased Quibi talent including Anna Kendrick (Dummy), Chrissy Teigen (Chrissy’s Court), Lena Waithe (You Ain’t Got These), Idris Elba (Elba vs. Block), Kevin Hart (Die Hart), and Liam Hemsworth (Most Dangerous Game).
Roku continued its push into originals last month, buying rights to This Old House, including current seasons and the library and studio of the home improvement series.
Two years after it launched, the Roku Channel has become one of the top streaming apps on the Roku platform. In the fourth quarter of 2020, it reached households with 63 million people, more than double its audience from the year-earlier quarter.
More than 40,000 film and series titles can be found on Roku Channel, along with more than 165 live, linear channels. The channel, which is currently in the U.S., UK and Canada, licenses and distributes programming from more than 175 partners. Beyond Roku devices, it is available on the web, iOS and Android devices, Amazon Fire TV and select Samsung TVs.
“We’re thrilled to introduce this award-winning and diverse portfolio of entertainment under the Roku Originals brand,” said Sweta Patel, Roku’s VP of Engagement Growth Marketing. – it’s relevant, fun and thought-provoking TV that has something for everyone from the best talent in Hollywood.”
Patel added that Roku staffers “are excited to bring this premium content to the biggest screen in the home.” Quibi, which shuttered last fall after an ill-starred run when it burned through most of its $1.75 billion, focused on mobile viewing, adding connected-TV apps only later in its rollout. Stymied by the coronavirus pandemic, which nullified its on-the-go use case, it also struggled to produce breakout shows. Its plan to charge frees for mobile video also compared unfavorably with offerings like YouTube, which has dabbled in subscriptions but has mostly been free.