Roku Greenlights New Content Recommendation Episodes

Roku Oct. 20 announced that “Roku Recommends” will return for a new slate of episodes starting this fall. “Roku Recommends” is a fifteen-minute weekly entertainment program that uses Roku data to help streamers discover new shows and hidden gems on the branded streaming platform. Co-hosts Emmy Award-winner Maria Menounos and Andrew “Hawk” Hawkins to shine a spotlight on their Top-5 best bets and movies to stream for the week.

“If you’re like me, it’s hard to pick what to stream next,” Menounos said in a statement.

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Hawk contends the concept behind “Roku Recommends” is for the hosts to do the “dirty work” and help point viewers in the right direction when streamer-indecision hits.

For Roku, directing streamers to content helps sell advertising.

“Advertisers need a new way to reach their customers, especially as more streamers spend time in ad-free, subscription-only environments,” said Chris Bruss, Head of Roku Brand Studio.

According to Roku internal data, “Roku Recommends” has been a Top-10 VOD series by unique views on The Roku Channel since its debut in June. Seventy-one percent of “Roku Recommends” households streamed a new channel on the Roku platform after watching an episode since its debut, and according to the company’s annual streaming survey, The Streaming Decade, conducted by the National Research Group, 1 in 4 consumers are now cord cutters. Given this success, weekly recommendation segments will continue to provide a unique method for brands to reach their audiences and produce engaging, relevant and entertaining content.

Unlike sponsorships on traditional TV, marketers can use the Roku Measurement Partner Program to quantify whether their “Roku Recommends” integration reaches SVOD-only streamers, adds incremental reach to their overall video ad campaign, shifts perceptions of their brand, drives consumers into stores/websites, or moves product off the shelf.

“Roku Recommends” is a Roku Brand Studio series created in partnership with The Roku Channel team and produced by Funny Or Die. The Roku Brand Studio mission is to create advertiser-driven content built for TV streaming.

The show is available to stream for free on The Roku Channel, with new episodes every Thursday. Funny or Die’s Mike Farah, Beth Belew, and Jim Ziegler serve as executive producers.

Roku Adds ‘Children Ruin Everything’ to Original Program Slate

Roku is bringing a new half-hour comedy from Bell Media’s CTV to The Roku Channel in the U.S. in 2022. The eight-episode series will join the Roku Originals programming slate in a new agreement with award-winning independent production company New Metric Media.

Created by Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winner Kurt Smeaton (“Schitt’s Creek,” “Kim’s Convenience”), “Children Ruin Everything” is about living with the worst roommates of all: young children. Astrid and James struggle to find a balance between being ‘Mom and Dad’ to two kids and being who they were before offspring. “Children Ruin Everything” explores the hilarious and varied ways kids can tear down your life and, if you’re lucky, replace it with something you have to admit is pretty okay, too.

The series stars Meaghan Rath (“Being Human, Hawaii 5-0”) and Aaron Abrams (“Blindspot,” “Hannibal”). Ennis Esmer (“Blindspot,” “Schitt’s Creek”) and Nazaneen Contractor (“Ransom,” Heroes Reborn”) are also among the cast.

Chuck Tatham (“Modern Family,” “Arrested Development”) and multiple Canadian Screen Award-winner Mark Montefiore (“Letterkenny,” “What Would Sal Do?”) are executive producers, with Beth Iley (“Killjoys”) serving as producer.

The show is produced and developed by New Metric Media in association with Bell Media for CTV, with the participation of the Canada Media Fund. Bell Media Distribution is the international rights holder for “Children Ruin Everything” and New Metric Media is the series’ exclusive Sales Agent.

“‘Children Ruin Everything’ is endearing, funny, and painfully relatable,” Colin Davis, head of scripted at Roku, said in a statement. “The familiarities and the modern evolutions of parenting are on full display. The greatest joys in our lives sometimes come from little monsters. I’m excited for The Roku Channel audience to instantly connect with the humor and heart of this show.”

Davis said originals have been an important part of Roku’s content portfolio for The Roku Channel, the company’s ad-supported VOD platform.

“‘Children Ruin Everything’ represents an exciting step in the growth as we continue to build up our slate with a great variety of originals from all over the world,” Davis said.

SVOD Pioneers Make ‘The Forbes 400’ List — in Surprising Order

The Forbes 400 recent list of the richest Americans in 2021 includes subscription streaming video pioneers Reed Hastings, co-founder/co-CEO of Netflix, and Roku founder/CEO Anthony Wood.

In a surprise, Wood ranks 134th with the personal wealth of $6.9 billion. That is 54 spots ahead of Hastings, who charted with a personal wealth of $5.7 billion.

Anthony Wood

Netflix ended the most-recent fiscal period with $1.35 billion profit on revenue of $7.3 billion. Roku ended the period with a net loss of $97 million on revenue of $676 million.

While Amazon founder/chairman Jeff Bezos again leads the list (and world) of multi-billionaires with a personal worth of $201 billion, Hastings and Wood make the list due to their co-launch of a short-lived branded “Netflix player” set-top device manufactured by Roku.

Wood, who once worked at Netflix as VP of Internet TV, went on to market Roku to consumers as a means of connecting the Internet (and third-party streaming apps) through their television.

Reed Hastings

Hastings, along with co-CEO/chief content officer Ted Sarandos, and others, spearheaded the world’s largest SVOD platform with 210 million subscribers. Nearly a decade earlier, Hastings and Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph invented the by-mail DVD movie rental business — after successfully sending a music CD in a First Class envelope.

Hastings has long stated no desire to enter the consumer electronics business with branded a player similar to Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV. Wood, meanwhile, expanded Roku beyond streaming video to include a line of soundbars and televisions — the latter reportedly the fourth-largest selling brand in the U.S.

Wood has also driven the growth of ad-supported VOD through the 2017 launch of The Roku Channel, which is now delving into original programming, with more than 51 million average monthly users.

Notably, the executive considered incorporating a Blu-ray Disc drive in early Roku players, but dropped the idea due to unit size restrictions.

Roku Premiering Three New Horror-Themed Originals This Month

Roku Oct. 8 announced it is launching three horror-themed original TV shows later this month. The titles: “When the Street Lights Go On,” “50 States of Fright” and “The Expecting” will debut on a weekly basis as a part of a “Freak Out Friday” campaign to bow streamers new horror content on The Roku Channel.

“When the Street Lights Go On,” tells the story of a double homicide in a small midwestern suburb that rattles the lives of a group of teenagers and sends investigators searching for answers in the fall of 1995The show premieres today (Oct. 8).

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“50 States of Fright,” executive produced by Sam Raimi, is a horror anthology with terrifying tales state by state. The show will premiere Oct. 15.

“The Expecting,” starring Anna Sophia Robb, Rory Culkin, and Mira Sorvino, is an edge-of-your-seat sci-fi thriller about a mysterious pregnancy and the potential dark secrets surrounding it. The show premieres Oct. 29.

The latest Roku Originals release come the heels of the company’s announcement it is partnering with Lionsgate to create its first-ever original feature-length film based on Emmy-winning show “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.” It follows the launch of 23 Roku Original titles in August.

Comcast-Owned Sky Bows Smart ‘Glass’ TV That Doesn’t Require Satellite Hookup

Taking a page from the Roku playbook, Comcast-owned subsidiary Sky Oct. 7 announced the launch of a branded television that connects with streaming apps without the requirement of its namesake satellite dish.

Called “Sky Glass,” the new streaming TV will be available to buy in the U.K. Oct. 18 with monthly subscriptions starting at £13 (plus the cost of the TV), and will launch in Sky’s other European markets in 2022. The Sky Glass HDTVs come in 43-inch, 55-inch and 65-inch screen sizes. A separate “Sky Puck” enables users to access Sky Glass via third-party devices.

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The TVs feature Ultra HD and Quantum Dot technology, 360-degree Dolby Atmos sound with built-in speakers and sub-woofer. Users can talk to their TV to find what to watch. Sky claims the units to be the world’s first TV to be certified as a “CarbonNeutral” product.

“Sky Glass is the streaming TV with Sky inside, providing the total integration of hardware, software and content,” CEO Dana Strong said in a statement. “Built on over 30 years of understanding what our customers want, this is a TV that only Sky could make. We believe this is the smartest TV available, and that customers will love it.”

Strong said the streaming revolution has brought a “whole new set of challenges” underscored by increased cord cutting by traditional pay-TV subscribers.

“Most people use multiple apps to find content but these experiences can feel fragmented and we end up spending more time searching for content than sitting back and enjoying it. In our already complex lives, we need things to be simple and this will dramatically simplify experiences and transform the role of TV in the home.”

The technology mirrors what Roku did in 2014 when it launched a line of Chinese-made TVs that don’t require a separate streaming device or cable, satellite connection.

Roku: British Consumers Prefer Streaming Video to Pay-TV

New survey data released by Roku finds that for live sports, traditionally the bastion of pay-TV, 51% of British respondents are now streaming. Another 68% said having digital access to a new movie release is a key reason they would try a new streaming service.

The results come from a survey conducted by National Research Group July 24-30 on behalf of Roku, featuring 934 respondents 18 to 70 years old who watch at least five hours of TV per week via traditional pay-TV service.

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The Streaming Decade” report suggests that TV streaming has reached a tipping point, with 90% of survey respondents saying they are TV streamers, versus 70% who use traditional pay-TV services such as Sky, BT and Virgin Media.

“The findings show that streaming is becoming the norm for all ages,” Mirjam Laux, VP international at Roku, said in a statement. “With more and more new and interesting content available to consumers, streaming has become the dominant force for consumers.”

Indeed, 66% of respondents chose streaming, while 23% chose traditional pay-TV when they wanted to watch something. Nearly two-thirds of 57- to 70-year-olds agree that streaming represents better value, is more convenient and has greater variety than pay-TV.

Another 73% who have signed up for ad-supported VOD services plan to keep them, while 79% plan to keep subscription services (SVOD).

Meanwhile, TV streamers are loyal — almost two-thirds of U.K. consumers have never subscription-cycled, (where users sign up, cancel, and then sign up again). Only 3% have definite plans to cancel a subscription streaming service in the next year.

Roku Expands TV Marketing Campaign to Canada

Roku Oct. 5 unveiled its “OK, Roku does that” TV streaming marketing campaign in Canada building on the momentum of new product launches as the streaming media pioneer enters the winter holiday season. The objective of the campaign is to create long term brand awareness for Roku and future streamers as consumers begin to think about holiday spending.

With nearly half (46%) of Canadian TV streamers signing up for new streaming services in the past 12 months, the “OK, Roku does that” campaign highlights the TV streaming platform for the innovation and ease of use in a broad campaign across TV streaming, traditional pay TV, out-of-home, and social media.

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The Roku State of Canadian Streaming survey found that half of Canadian streamers reported using three or more streaming services, a 6% increase year-over-year.

The hero of the 60-second spot looks back in time, over the course of history to see how seemingly simple innovations have transformed the world and how people navigate it. The launch commercial moves through a short history of transformative innovations; culminating in the decade of streaming.

“We are witnessing a fundamental change in how consumers engage with content and entertainment, and that shift has been led in large part by Roku,” Ellie Bamford, SVP, global head of media and connections at R/GA, Roku’s ad partner for the campaign, said in a statement. “In this campaign we wanted to create an emotional connection that highlights the innovation and leadership Roku has provided in streaming. We believe we’ve achieved that with our great partners at Roku in an opportunity within one of the hottest industries.”

Additional video ads are focused on driving awareness for Roku TVs, and will play on the same “OK, Roku does that” theme and be on display in major cities around Canada, including Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. Roku will also use its “OneView” ad-buying platform built for TV streaming, to manage the digital portion of the campaign across desktop, mobile, and TV streaming.

Roku Expands TV Presence in Brazil

Roku has partnered with Chinese/Brazilian joint venture SEMP TCL to bring TCL Roku TV models to the Latin American country.

The SEMP Roku TV models will come integrated with Roku’s operating system and intuitive user interface, with access to more than 100,000 movies and TV series from third-party platforms such as Netflix, Globoplay, Disney+, Spotify and HBO Max. In addition, AVOD channels Pluto TV, Red Bull TV and Vix are also available. The new SEMP Roku TV models, varying in size from 32 to 50 inches, and priced from R1,949 ($358).

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Roku arrived in Brazil in 2020 and the SEMP Roku TV models are the third brand of Roku TV models to launch in the country.

“Our goal with these launches is to bring intelligent solutions to everyday life and make it even more practical for consumers to stream content on their televisions,” João Rezende, product and GTM manager for the TV, audio and video category at SEMP TCL.

Roku Bowing ‘This Old House’ SVOD Service; Announces New Episodes

Roku Sept. 30 announced that Emmy Award-winning series “This Old House” and “Ask This Old House” would premiere new seasons on Sept. 30 on The Roku Channel. For the first time in the franchise’s 43-year history, the 2021-22 season would feature 39 episodes of each show — 13 more than in previous seasons.

The new episodes will premiere on PBS as well as on an all-new dedicated premium subscription channel on The Roku Channel on Thursdays. Viewers will be able to stream new episodes for free on demand on The Roku Channel the following Mondays.

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Roku in March announced it had acquired the “This Old House” franchise, including global distribution rights, all subsidiary brands and the television production studio. From more than 200 linear channels available on The Roku Channel, “This Old House” is one of the top 20 linear channels by hours streamed from Jan. 1 to Sept. 1, according to Roku.

“Joining Roku earlier this year enabled [us] to invest more in our storied brand, which will benefit an all-new generation of home improvement enthusiasts this season and in many years to come,” Dan Suratt, VP of “This Old House” at Roku, said in a statement.

In July, the show won its 19th Emmy for “Outstanding Instructional and How-To Program” at the 48th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards.

Returning for its 43rd season, “This Old House” will kick off in Concord, Mass., with a young family who is moving from the city to a New England Cape built in 1880. The owners are hands-on renovators and want to improve upon the views of their three-acre property and make better use of their space. The This Old House cast of experts team up with the Silva Brothers to reconfigure this Revolutionary New England Cape.

“Ask This Old House” returns for its 20th season with new episodes, including general soldering techniques and how to connect water piping, how to build, install, and paint a railing for deck stairs to match the original railing, how to create a durable landscape that can withstand heavy pedestrian traffic and more. The show will feature a special 20th anniversary episode in January 2022.

Starting Oct. 12, the “This Old House” subscription VOD channel will be available on The Roku Channel in the United States. The channel channel costs $4.99 a month and will launch with a 14-day free trial.

Launching separately Oct. 13, “This Old House Classic” is a live channel on The Roku Channel featuring classic episodes dating back to 1979 and featuring original hosts Bob Vila and Steve Thomas.

Roku Bows TV Streaming Marketing Campaign

Heading into the winter retail season, Roku Sept. 29 unveiled a TV marketing campaign aimed at highlighting the company’s recent product launches.

Dubbed “OK, Roku does that,” the promotion aims to highlight the pioneering streaming media platform’s innovation and ease of use connecting the television to the Internet.

“We have believed since our founding in 2002 that all TV will be streamed,” Mustafa Ozgen, GM of account acquisition at Roku, said in a statement.

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The hero of the campaign is a 60-second creative look back in time. Over the course of history, seemingly simple innovations have transformed the world and how people navigate it. The commercial moves through a short history of transformative innovations; culminating in the decade of streaming.

The objective is to create lone term brand awareness for Roku and future streamers as consumers begin to think about holiday spending. A recent Roku and Harris poll 2021 Holiday Survey found 32% of consumers plan to purchase big ticket items over $500 this season.

“We are witnessing a fundamental change in how consumers engage with content and entertainment, and that shift has been led in large part by Roku,” said Ellie Bamford, SVP, global head of media and connections at R/GA, Roku’s agency partner for the campaign. “In this campaign we wanted to create an emotional connection that highlights the innovation and leadership Roku has provided in streaming. We believe we’ve achieved that with our great partners at Roku in an opportunity within one of the hottest industries.”

Additional ad spots are focused on driving awareness for Roku TV models, and ease-of-use features such as private listening, lost remote finder and the access to free content available on The Roku Channel.

The promotional campaigns will run in major cities around the country, including New York, Los Angeles as well as travel hubs such as Chicago, Atlanta and JFK airports. Roku will also use OneView, its proprietary ad buying platform, to manage the digital portion of the campaign across desktop, mobile and TV streaming.