After reaching 10,000 free ad-supported movies and TV episodes and more than two dozen live streaming channels, don’t expect any original programming to come to The Roku Channel. The free ad-supported network that is available to Roku customers has been a hit, but according to Roku CEO Anthony Wood, the company doesn’t have any plans to create their own content for the network.
“We have no plans to license original content. In The Roku Channel (TRC), our focus is deepen content categories and add live content,” said Wood. This is very different than Amazon, the make of Fire TV devices, that offer ad-supported content through IMDB Freedrive, but also original shows through their Prime Video service.
As companies like Netflix, Apple, and Disney add billions of original content, Roku is sticking to the strategy of licensing library content — just like other free ad-supported services like Pluto.TV, Xumo, and tubi. Wood feels though they have a “big advantage” since they “control (their) platform and can integrate into our user interface and make it front and center.”
In January, the company launched Premium Subscriptions as part of The Roku Channel which allow users to subscribe to services like HBO and Showtime through their device. A business that is reportedly already generating $2B in revenue for Amazon, which Roku hopes can be done even better on their platform — which now has 29.1 million active accounts. “We can have a single bill, we can do great targeting. We can make it the best, a great aggregation point for content, that really helps bring viewers to content and content to views.”