One of the main things that has kept many traditional TV viewers from cutting the cord is the ability to watch local news through traditional pay-TV packages. Now, however, one streaming company has unveiled a free way to watch local news without having to pay for a TV subscription.
Roku announced on Tuesday that it has made news coverage from local NBC channels available to stream via its free, ad-supported Roku Channel. The channels have launched with access to news from several major markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas Fort Worth, Washington, D.C, Hartford, and South Florida, while more channels will be added in the future.
Those markets all have channels that are owned and operated by NBCUniversal. NBC also owns channels in other markets including Boston and the San Francisco Bay Area, but those channels were not included in the initial wave coming to Roku.
“Local news has never been more vital to helping our audiences stay informed about what’s happening in their communities,” NBCUniversal Local’s EVP of diginets and original production Meredith McGinn said. “We look forward to bringing our NBC local news channels and our stations’ best-in-class journalism to the millions of people The Roku Channel reaches and to launching more of our NBC local news channels to expand streamers’ access to our local news content.”
The NBC local news channels will feature the latest local news, breaking updates, weather forecasts, and live events from those specific regions. The addition of the channels will complement The Roku Channel’s existing lineup of national news options, which includes [NBC News Now], making both local and national news easily accessible to audiences.
“Audiences are increasingly opting to consume news through streaming, and local news has consistently been one of the top requested categories by our users,” The Roku Channel’s head of ad-supported video-on-demand Ashley Hovey said. “We’re excited to work with NBCUniversal Local and the NBC Stations to expand our relevant live TV offering for streamers and to bring news from multiple major cities to millions of viewers across the country to easily access and enjoy.”
This launch marks the first time that the Roku Channel has offered local news programming directly. Both ABC and CBS have news apps that are available for download, but they are separate from the Roku Channel platform.
The Roku Channel is a free live TV streaming service that provides 450+ live linear streaming channels and more than 80,000 free movies and TV shows. The library contains entertainment from several different decades, including some major hits.
The service also made a splash with the acquisition of the Quibi library, now presented as Roku Originals. More original content is set to follow.
Users can add premium subscriptions to services like Paramount+, Showtime, STARZ, discovery+, and AMC+ that can be accessed within the Roku Channel ecosystem.