Roku’s free ‘Channel’ app will soon be a portal to subscription video services, too. The company has announced that Showtime, Starz, and Epix will be some of the launch partners.
Roku Channel subscriptions
Roku is taking a page out of Amazon’s playbook. Similar to Amazon’s channels marketplace, Roku will start selling partners’ subscription video services through its Channel app that offers access to free ad-supported content.
- "Today, we’re excited to announce that starting in late January, Premium Subscriptions are coming to the The Roku Channel! In addition to 10,000+ free ad-supported movies and TV episodes, The Roku Channel will soon offer customers the option to add Premium Subscriptions from SHOWTIME, Starz, EPIX and more, making it the one-stop shop for your favorite free and premium TV," the company announced.
Think of it as a modern approach to the cable TV bundle. You probably end up paying the same as you would if you were to purchase access directly from the streaming providers but you have access to everything from the same user interface; in this case Roku’s Channel app. That is also the downside since you will only be able to access it via Roku’s app, not for example Showtime’s own app.
The Roku Channel is available on Roku TVs and boxes as well as Samsung Smart TVs. It will be available soon in Roku’s existing mobile app.
At launch, video services from 25 partners will be available to purchase, including Showtime, Starz, Epix, CuriosityStream, Tastemade, and Hopster. Users can browse the libraries of the various services before deciding to jump on. Paments will be managed by Roku under a single bill.
One potential worry for some consumers could be Roku’s advertisement strategy. The company has said that it wants to turn its platform into a “next-generation ad platform” so you should expecy your viewing habits to be analyzed, shared, and used to retarget ads based on your preferences.
Amazon’s similar initative has been very popular, according to estimates. Some expect Apple to take a similar approach with its ‘TV’ app in the near future.
Roku - subscription services at launch
Showtime, Starz, EPIX, Baeble Music, CollegeHumor’s DROPOUT, CuriosityStream, FitFusion, The Great Courses Signature Collection, Hopster, Magnolia Selects presented by Magnolia Pictures, MHz Choice, NOGGIN, Smithsonian Channel Plus, Tastemade, Viewster Anime and more.