Roku, the giant streaming devices manufacturer, is officially stepping into original content: The company announced today its new “Roku Originals” brand, which would bring premium TV shows to its free (with adverts) Roku Channel in the UK (and other regions).
As we reported earlier this year, Roku recently acquired content – more than 75 shows – from the now-defunct Quibi streaming service.
Those Quibi shows will be the backbone of the new ‘Roku Originals’ – though we can assume more original content will be added in the future.
Quibi was a short-lived streaming service that launched last year and focused on short, “quick-bite” (hence Quibi) content, with episodes of up to 10 minutes each.
Many of the shows featured big-name Hollywood stars, such as Idris Elba, Chrissy Teigen, Liam Hemsworth and many others.
Despite a $1.7 Billion investment and all the stars, viewers did not flock to Quibi, and the service shut down late last year, with Roku later buying its content library.
Roku’s Original Content Push
Roku is one of the leading streaming device providers in the US (though not as popular in the UK at this stage), with a strong line of streaming devices – from the newly announced Roku Express 4K, to the Roku Streambar.
Back in 2017, Roku launched The Roku Channel (only in the US, at first) – a free, ad-supported app that lets viewers watch a variety of movies and TV programmes.
In the UK, The Roku Channel can be watched on all of Roku’s own devices, as well as on NOW (formerly NOW TV) streaming devices, and Sky Q.
Soon, The Roku Channel will get a major content boost, thanks to those Quibi shows. Naturally, Roku chose not to keep the misfortuned name, so the new content will be branded as ‘Roku Originals’.
More than 75 Roku Originals, including a dozen unreleased series, will debut for the first time on The Roku Channel this year – though there’s no exact date yet. All the shows will be available for free, with advert breaks throughout.
In addition to the Quibi content, many have speculated that Roku will eventually enter the original programming arena in an even deeper way, possibly producing brand new shows and films.
Recently, it was reported that Roku published a job listing for a lead production attorney, who would help build an “expanding slate of original content”.
Furthermore, Roku recently acquired the rights to the popular This Old House American home improvement TV brand, with its big library of shows AND its production team.
It remains to be seen whether Roku will become an important force in the streaming content field – and whether, at some point in the future, we’ll see a paid ‘Roku Channel Plus’ version, as is the norm these days.