Roku Names Mustafa Ozgen to Head Players, TV Biz, Replacing Retiring Chas Smith

Roku Feb. 4 announced the hiring of Mustafa Ozgen as SVP and GM of account acquisition. Mustafa joins Roku from SmartKem Limited, where he served as CEO since last September.

Ozgen replaces Chas Smith, who serves as GM and SVP of Roku TVs and player. After a transition period, Smith, a “Digital Driver” in Media Play News‘ 2018 feature, is expected to retire and leave the company at the end of the first quarter (ended March 31).

Founder/CEO Anthony Wood said account growth at the consumer and Roku TV licensing business remains a top priority.

“Mustafa brings a wealth of leadership experience and global TV industry knowledge which makes him well suited to spearhead our mission to make the Roku platform widely used around the world,” Wood said in a statement.

Ozgen joins Roku after having served as CEO of both SmartKem Limited and QD Vision, which was acquired by Samsung to enable its QLED branded next-generation television displays.

Before QD Vision, Ozgen ran TV and media business units as SVP and GM of the home multimedia business unit at Sigma Designs, VP of home entertainment products at CSR and as VP and GM of TV business unit at Zoran Corp. He started his career as a commissioned naval officer in the Turkish Navy.


Roku Inks Westinghouse Deal

Roku Jan. 7 announced that Westinghouse Electronics has joined its Roku TV licensing program. Westinghouse Electronics will use the streaming media pioneer’s hardware reference design and operating system in HD Westinghouse Roku TV models, expected in the first half of 2019, and 4K Westinghouse Roku TV models hitting shelves later in the year.

The program offers TV OEM partners a reliable solution for building Internet-connected HD or 4K and HDR smart TVs. Roku provides the hardware reference design, automatic software updates and library of content, enabling OEMs to offer smart TVs at competitive price points.

“The Roku brand is synonymous with streaming and its popular smart TV platform helps us offer a content-rich experience for our customers that is very easy to use,” Brett Hunt, VP of sales and marketing at Westinghouse Electronics, said in a statement. “We can focus on building eco-friendly, energy-saving displays, while Roku manages the smart TV platform offering an overall incredible value.”

The Roku OS offers access to 500,000+ movies and TV episodes via thousands of third-party free or paid channels. Users can search across hundreds of channels returns results in order by price, plus what’s playing live when an HDTV antenna is attached.

The Roku Channel offers 10,000+ free ad-supported movies and TV episodes, and later this month customers will also be able to browse, trial and subscribe to premium subscriptions from popular services.

The Roku Channel provides account management and a single bill for services subscribed to within the channel. Free content is also available with “featured free” as it provides users with direct links to free in-season episodes from top network shows and full past-season catch-ups.

“The licensing program has seen a lot of momentum,” said Chas Smith, GM, Roku TV and players. During the first nine months of 2018 more than one in four smart TVs sold in the U.S. were Roku TVs.”

Roku’s Smart TV Guru Chas Smith Retiring

Roku Dec. 4 announced that Chas Smith, SVP and GM of Roku TVs and players, is expected to retire and leave the company at the end of the first quarter next year. The company has a search underway with a leading executive placement firm to place his successor.

“Over the last several years, Chas has been instrumental in transforming our business,” founder/CEO Anthony Wood said in a statement. “He took the idea of giving consumers and TV makers a simple smart TV and made Roku TV the No. 1 licensed smart TV platform in the U.S.”

Smith joined Roku in March 2010 as VP of sales and led online Roku player sales. In 2012, he assumed the role of GM of OEM to lead the Roku TV business. Three years later was promoted to SVP/GM of Roku TV and Roku players and also oversees the whole home division.