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Roku debuts free, ad-supported app offering "100s of Hollywood hits"

08 Sep 2017 | Rasmus Larsen |

Roku has launched “The Roku Channel” across its streaming players and the Roku TVs. The app offers free, ad-supported access to Hollywood hits and other movies.

The Roku Channel

The Roku Channel is “giving customers free access to a collection of top films and more”, including Ali, The Karate Kid, and Legally Blonde. The company has partnered with Sony Pictures, MGM, Lionsgate, and Warner Bros, amongst others.

All movies can be watched for free. There are no subscriptions, logins or fees involved. However, you will have to endure ads throughout the movie. The company said that viewers can expect “approximately half the advertising per programming hour as compared to traditional ad-supported linear TV”.

- “With The Roku Channel, we’re responding to consumer demand and helping content publishers deliver content through a new experience that makes finding free entertainment easy for our customers,” said Rob Holmes, VP of Programming, Roku.

The Roku Channel


The move mirrors what Vudu has done with Vudu Movies on Us.

Operating its own services will also give Roku leverage over competing apps on its platform, encouraging them to share subscription or ad revenue now that they have to compete for eyeballs with the platform owner.

Roku has in the past been seen as content agnostic, as opposed to Google, Apple, Amazon, and other TV platform owners. However, in preparation for its IPO the company has started to track users’ viewing patterns in order to target ads and serve recommendations. The new channel is the latest move designed to take back some control.

The Roku Channel will roll out over the coming weeks, the company said.



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