Roku is making good on their plans as 75 shows previously intended for Quibi will be finding a new home on The Roku Channel as a result of the company’s purchase of the ill-fated mobile-centric streaming service this year. The programming will be rebranded as “Roku Originals” and will launch on May 20 with a curated library of 30 star-studded programs covering scripted series, reality TV, and documentaries.
Watch the Roku Originals trailer:
“What we took into account was making sure that we have a breadth of content that we put up and diversity in it,” said Sweta Patel, vp of engagement growth marketing. “I mean by genres. I mean by talent. I mean by whether it’s easy viewing or you need to cleanse your palate type of viewing. We took all of these things into account to make sure we had the right number, and then the right diversity of titles.”
The company is putting a lot of faith in Roku Originals to drive interest and viewership among younger audiences by making the programming ad-supported content that doesn’t require a fee or subscription.
“Marketers know that they need to find a younger, more diverse audience, one that’s watching ad-supported content,” said Dan Robbins, VP of Ad Marketing. “Roku Originals is going to be core to our upfront package, and it’s something that’s going to be a first look for upfront advertisers.”
“We’re releasing a handful of these shows, and they will be available first look to advertisers in the upfront. So the folks who find it most important to be aligned to specific types of content or reach a specific audience—they’re going to get first look at those opportunities in the upfront.”
If their earnings in the first quarter of this year are any indication, Roku seems to know what they're doing. According to a company statement, “the addition of Roku Originals comes at a time of incredible growth for The Roku Channel as it reached U.S. households with an estimated 63 million people in Q4 2020, up more than 100% year-over-year.”
Let’s take a look at some of the upcoming Roku Originals:
- #FreeRayshawn: A showdown with SWAT ensues as a Black Iraqi War veteran looks to clear his name.
- Bad Ideas with Adam Devine: A reality series in which Devine, accompanied by celebrity guests, travels in search of adventure.
- Chrissy’s Court: Chrissy Teigen handles actual court cases.
- Cup of Joe: Joe Jonas and some famous friends travel famous locations.
- Die Hart: Kevin Hart is on a mission to land a role in an action film.
- Dummy: A writer played by Anna Kendrick befriends her boyfriend’s sex doll.
- Most Dangerous Game: Liam Hemsworth participates in a deadly competition to save his family.
- Punk’d: Chance the Rapper hosts this reboot of the classic MTV prank show.
- Reno 911!: The seventh season of this comedy series featuring a department of incompetent police officers.
- Thanks a Million: A reality series in which celebs give $100,000 to someone who has had a positive impact on their lives with the stipulation that they must then do the same with half of it. Executive produced by Jennifer Lopez.
Quibi shut down just a little over six months after its launch. While a mobile-only service featuring premium content may have felt novel and forward-thinking during inception, viewers stuck at home in front of their TVs during the pandemic disagreed, and viewership tanked.