Roku to Add 25+ Premium Subscriptions to The Roku Channel Line-Up
The Roku Channel will expand to include free and premium entertainment in one spot.
Happy New Year from Roku! On Wednesday, the streaming TV interface announced it would soon be expanding content on The Roku Channel to include more than 25 premium subscriptions such as SHOWTIME, Starz, College Humor’s DROPOUT, CuriosityStream and EPIX. In addition to more than 10,000 free ad-supported movies and TV shows, Roku (NASDAQ: ROKU) users will be able to find all their favorite programs in one spot, complete with personalized recommendations.
Roku users will also be able to sign up for free trials and subscribe to premium services with one click using their Roku account via The Roku Channel. All services will be billed monthly through Roku, so subscribers have an easy way to manage and pay for their premium subscription TV services. Roku will also send users reminders when their free trials are about to expire, so they can either cancel a premium channel or subscribe to avoid any service interruptions.
“We’re focused on making it easy to find great entertainment of all types on the platform and adding premium subscriptions is a natural evolution for The Roku Channel,” said Rob Holmes, Roku vice president of programming and engagement in a January 2 news release.
“As a top five channel by active account reach, The Roku Channel is already a great source for free, ad-supported entertainment and provides significant user engagement. By making it easy for users to discover, subscribe to and watch premium subscriptions, we believe this offering will result in increased subscriptions and user engagement for our subscription partners and an even better user experience,” Holmes added.
Premium subscriptions and expanded search capabilities on The Roku Channel will begin rolling out to Roku devices later this month. iOS and Android users of the Roku mobile app will also see the changes about the same time. Additional rollouts will be phased throughout early 2019.
Joe Glennon, executive vice president of affiliate sales for Starz, also commented on the new offering.
“Bringing our premium programming to a highly engaged user base via The Roku Channel is a great opportunity to expand our reach, drive more viewership and make our range of STARZ Original TV series and movies more widely accessible to new and growing audiences,” said Glennon.
The Roku Channel is currently only available on current generation Roku streaming players, Roku streaming sticks ROKU TV in the U.S. and Canada, compatible Samsung Smart TVs and web browsers on computers and mobile devices in the U.S.
So what can you watch on The Roku Channel? In addition to the premium subscriptions, users can access free movies and TV, both live TV and on-demand programming. Here are a few of the free selections Roku users can access:
- Free movies like True Lies, The Green Hornet, Happy Feet Two, Stuart Little, Interview with the Vampire and This Is Spinal Tap
- ABC News, Yahoo News and Finance, live sports coverage, TMZ, People TV and Cheddar Business News
- Free TV shows including classics like Gidget, Batman, Unsolved Mysteries, Lost in Space, I Dream of Jeannie and Good Times
- Documentaries including AC/DC Dirty Deeds, Michael Jackson Unmasked, The FBI Files, The Dog Rescuers and Bowling for Columbine
Adding premium subscriptions to The Roku Channel is a strategic move for 2019, and Roku users will likely be grateful for the one-stop shopping it offers. Roku, who says it pioneered streaming to TV, is trying to appeal to a broad audience of TV watchers across the generations, while also appealing to publishers and advertisers. The Roku Channel will get them one step closer, while also helping them to compete with services like Amazon Channels who also offers a one-stop dashboard for subscriptions. What will be interesting to see is which premium subscriptions are made available through The Roku Channel and, if they disclose it, how much revenue Roku will actually earn from its premium subscription partners.