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Roku Confirms Plans For Original Content For The Roku Channel

Jason Gurwin, Jeff Kotuby

Speculation was abound earlier this week, when news of a job posting at Roku indicated they were getting into the original content game. Now, the company said in their Q4 2020 Shareholder Letter with the scale of The Roku Channel, they will be “more creative and expansive in sourcing cost-effective content that is well-suited to an AVOD business model.”

This all but confirms their plans to bring original content to the free streaming service, though Roku’s leadership was very careful to not explicitly mention the development of ‘original content’ for The Roku Channel on their Q4 2020 shareholder call, instead referencing “more options available to strategically source content.”

The growth of The Roku Channel was impressive, growing nearly twice as fast as the overall platform and now reaching 63 million people (up 100% year-over-year). In 2020, the company expanded the platform to be available on Amazon Fire TV, iOS, and Android devices. On the Q4 2020 shareholder, Roku CEO Anthony Wood said The Roku Channel’s success in the AVOD space, “opens up the ability for us to pursue deals like Quibi.”

The company, which acquired Quibi’s original content following their shutdown, says that the original content will make its debut on The Roku Channel later this year. There’s no word on when the Quibi content will arrive to Roku’s platform, though callers were urged to “stay tuned” for an announcement coming soon.

Overall, Roku users streamed 17 billion hours across apps in Q4, and over 58 billion hours in 2020 overall (55% year-over-year growth). Roku active accounts streamed an average of 3.8 hours per day in Q4 (up 10% on the year).

Combined with Roku’s recent acquisition of Quibi’s entire content library, the company seems to be reversing its stance on original content. In 2019, Roku CEO Anthony Wood mentioned the company had no plans to create original content, instead focusing on licensing existing content for The Roku Channel.

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