The shows, which include Emmy winner #FreeRayshawn as well as series starring Kevin Hart, Chrissy Teigen, Anna Kendrick, Chance the Rapper and more, will be available on the Roku Channel (see the full list below). The remaining titles from the full roster of 75 titles will go live on Roku by the end of 2021.
The free, ad-supported Roku Channel offers 190 live, linear channels and 40,000 movie and TV titles, to viewers beyond Roku’s sizable base of connected devices and smart TVs. Unlike the subscription model of Quibi, the originals will be available for free. Limited advertising will be shown in between the seven- to 10-minute episodes.
On its quarterly earnings call last week, Roku said it now has 53.6 million active accounts, while the Roku Channel reaches households with an estimated 70 million people.
Along with the May 20 premiere date, Roku also said Hart’s LOL! Network will be joining the Roku Channel lineup in the U.S. and Canada.
Roku Originals, the banner that includes the Quibi slate, are premiering as the company also welcomes home-improvement titles after acquiring This Old House as well as its library and studio. Over time, if the celebrity-filled Quibi offerings can establish Roku Originals as a destination for fresh programming, the plan is to stock the new label with an assortment of newer fare. (This Old House, which still airs on PBS stations and then streams on the Roku Channel, is not officially part of Roku Originals.)
“As The Roku Channel grows, we will continue to be even more creative and expansive in sourcing great content that will perform well in a free, advertising-supported model, while delivering an array of incredible, quality entertainment for our users to enjoy,” said Sweta Patel, Roku’s VP of Engagement Growth Marketing.
In an interview, Patel told Deadline that the company’s research found that the fact the Quibi roster had been released in 2020 would not be a hindrance in the shift to Roku. “For the vast majority of people, they have not seen this” programming, she said. “There’s a small fraction that’s seen it.”
While “there are fans” of Quibi, she conceded, “we will be engaging with them and messaging slightly differently to them to be able to tell them, ‘Hey, we have your shows. We’ve got that and more, and by the way, you can watch it on the big screen and it’s free.'”
The proprietary Turnstyle technology that was promoted as a key element of Quibi was not part of Roku’s acquisition of its programming. Roku has never disclosed the price of the Quibi deal, but reports have pegged it as significantly less than $100 million.
Quibi — whose name is short for “quick bites” — burned through most of its $1.75 billion in start-up capital before shuttering last fall. Founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and former CEO Meg Whitman assigned some blame for the company’s demise to the coronavirus pandemic, but they also acknowledged flaws in their business plan. One issue was the tight focus on mobile viewing, especially once customers were in lockdown and increasing their time on bigger screens and streaming-enabled TVs.
In the U.S., the Roku Channel is available on the web, on iOS and Android devices, Amazon Fire TV and select Samsung TVs in addition to Roku’s industry-leading streaming footprint.
The Roku Originals launch coincides with National Streaming Day, an industry-created day that has become known for promotions. Roku said it was offering $10 off the Roku Streaming Stick+, $30 off both the Roku Streambar and the Roku Ultra, and $5 off the Roku Express from May 16 to 29. Similar offers are also in store for customers in Canada and the UK.
Here are the Roku Originals that will be available on May 20:
Bad Ideas with Adam Devine”
Big Rad Wolf
Cup of Joe
Fight Like a Girl
Iron Sharpens Iron
Let’s Roll with Tony Greenhand
Most Dangerous Game
Murder House Flip
Shape of Pasta
Thanks a Million
You Ain’t Got These