Roku's free, ad-supported streaming service expands to the web

09 Aug 2018 | Rasmus Larsen |

The Roku Channel, launches as a free data- and ad-supported streaming service in 2017, is now available through web browsers. The company will also start featuring it more prominently on Roku TVs.

The Roku Channel on the web

Launched last fall, The Roku Channel has quickly grown to be the fifth most popular streaming app on the Roku platform (based on account reach), the company claims. Roku announced that it would come to Samsung Smart TVs earlier this year.

The Roku Channel is now also available through web browsers in the US. It requires a Roku account to access the free content that includes movies, news, and TV content. The streaming service is free because it is ad-supported and because Roku is collecting user data in order to create a “next-generation ad platform”.

- “We want to be the best destination for free streaming entertainment. We’re delighted to deliver even more value to our customers without subscriptions, complicated logins or fees,” said Rob Holmes, Roku’s Vice President of Programming and Engagement. “By expanding The Roku Channel to the Web, we’re broadening the access points to high-quality, free streaming entertainment. With Featured Free, we’re making it easy for our customers to see the great, free content already available on the Roku platform in one place, while creating value for our content providers by connecting them with Roku’s growing audience.”


 The Roku Channel


’Featured Free’ on Roku TVs

In addition, the company has started rolling out a “navigation change to the Roku TV home screen” called ‘Featured Free’. It will be a phased roll out and Roku expects it to reach all screens “over the coming weeks”.

- “Featured Free provides users with direct links to free content from The Roku Channel, ABC, The CW, CW Seed, FOX, Freeform, Pluto TV, Sony Crackle, Tubi and more. Featured Free includes the latest in-season episodes of top network shows, full past-season catch-ups and more – all free and available to browse in a single experience,” the company said.


 The Roku Channel


Roku is, according to most estimates, the leading TV platform in the US, and is also available in some other territories. The company is competing with Amazon, Apple, Google, and other major players, by selling streaming boxes at near cost and by partnering with TV manufacturers to have them use Roku as their TV platform. The company is monetizing its users through advertising and content.



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