CEO Anthony Wood: Original Content, Lionsgate Movies Help Drive Roku Channel Engagement

Nearly a year ago Roku inked a multiyear Pay 1 distribution deal with Lionsgate for the studio’s theatrical releases streaming on the Roku Channel. Fast-forward to the present and that agreement, together with original produced content, drove platform user engagement up 85% in the most-recent fiscal period for the free ad-supported VOD service. Platform revenue in 2022 increased 20% ($446.5 million) to $2.7 billion largely due to advertising.

Speaking March 6 at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in San Francisco, Roku founder/CEO Anthony Wood said the Roku Channel has evolved from streaming older catalog content to current box office releases and its first original movie Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, starring Daniel Radcliffe as the eccentric comedian, in addition to shows such as “The Great American Baking Show,” “Martha Gardens” and “Emeril Tailgates,” among others.

It also offers “MovieSphere by Lionsgate” a free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) channel featuring catalog movies such as The Hurt Locker, The King’s Speech and La La Land, and series from every genre and decade.

Pending Lionsgate theatrical releases earmarked for The Roku Channel (after box office and retail) include Expendables 4; Eli Roth’s Borderlands; Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret from director James L. Brooks; White Bird: A Wonder Story, with Helen Mirren and Gillian Anderson; and The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent headlined by Nicolas Cage.

“It’s not only a great way for us to sell ads, but it’s also a reason people buy Roku devices because they get the Roku Channel,” Wood said.

Roku, which broke its teeth connecting the television to the internet through a branded Netflix player streaming device in 2008, now has more than 70 million active accounts accessing third-party streaming services via the Roku platform, which includes the Roku Channel.

Roku now divides advertising revenue two ways: Display ads on the platform that include selling the entire Roku home page to Disney+ for the debut of a new season of “The Mandalorian,” and ads inserted in AVOD content, according to Wood.

“It’s kind of delightful to turn on your TV and see a ‘Mandalorian’-themed background for a couple of days,” Wood said. “Disney likes it because 70 million households turn on their TV and see [the show].”

Roku Reports Increased Q4 Subscribers, Streaming Hours as Device Sales Plummet

Subscription streaming video pioneer Roku Feb. 15 said it generated a 16% increase in active user accounts to 70 million in the fourth quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2022), from 60 million at the end of 2021. Streaming hours increased 23% to 23.9 billion hours, from 19.5 billion in the previous-year period.

San Jose, Calif.-based Roku also disclosed that its legacy consumer electronics business revenue dropped 18% to $135.8 million, from $166.4 million in the previous-year period. The devices division’s operating loss remained constant at $43.6 million, compared with an operating loss of $44 million during the previous-year period.

Average revenue per platform user grew to $41.68, up 2% from ARPU of $40.86, which is based in part on third-party SVOD revenue.

The company’s flagship free ad-supported streaming TV/AVOD platform The Roku Channel ended 2022 with 100 million U.S. households. In June, Roku launched Spanish-language programming in the U.S. with Espacio Latino, followed by Kids & Family en Español. In Q4, Roku bowed The Roku Channel to Mexico, where it has become the channel’s largest international market.

For the quarter, revenue was flat at $867 million, while the net loss ballooned to nearly $250 million, from a profit of $21.4 million in the previous-year period.

“While cyclical economic pressures are affecting our business, two things
remain true: the secular trend supporting our business remains intact, and the combination of our scale, engagement, and innovation position Roku exceptionally well to benefit when the market rebounds,” founder/CEO Anthony Wood and CFO Steve Louden wrote in the shareholder letter.

Roku Channel Serves Up Season Two Orders of ‘Martha Cooks’ and ‘Emeril Cooks’

The Roku Channel has ordered second seasons of its originals “Martha Cooks,” featuring March Stewart, and “Emeril Cooks,” with Emeril Lagasse.

“Emeril Cooks” season two will debut Feb. 17, and “Martha Cooks” season two will debut April 3. The series starring the culinary and lifestyle icons will stream exclusively on The Roku Channel.

The first seasons of both “Martha Cooks” and “Emeril Cooks” premiered in the fall of 2022 on The Roku Channel.

The second season of “Emeril Cooks” brings viewers to the cook’s beloved New Orleans to experience the unique blend of tradition and innovation that powers his cooking. The new season will feature 10 30-minute episodes. The series is produced by Marquee Brands for The Roku Channel.  


The second season of “Martha Cooks” welcomes viewers into Stewart’s farm kitchen and visits some of her favorite places to create cuisine, confections and treats. Working with world-renowned chefs and friends, she will reveal techniques and how-to instructions. The new season will feature 10 30-minute episodes. The series is also produced by Marquee Brands for The Roku Channel. 


In addition to Roku originals starring Stewart and Lagasse, The Roku Channel offers viewers more content from the two for free. Audiences can stream complete seasons of library content, including “Martha Bakes” seasons 1-11, “Martha Stewart’s Cooking School” seasons 1-5, “Martha Stewart Living” seasons 1-11, “Essence of Emeril” seasons 1-11 and “Emeril Live” seasons 1-19.

The Roku Channel also has created dedicated linear channels with this programming, Martha Stewart Channel and Emeril Lagasse Channel. 

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Roku Partners With DoorDash for On-Demand Food Deliveries During Streaming Video

Roku Feb. 7 announced a multiyear deal with DoorDash, the local delivery e-commerce platform, granting a complimentary six-month DashPass (which reverts to $9.99 monthly fee on the seventh month unless canceled) to new and existing Roku account holders with a linked streaming or smart home device.

DashPass is a monthly membership program that offers subscribers free delivery fees on eligible orders from thousands of restaurants, grocery, convenience, and retail stores nationwide.

For the first year of the partnership, DoorDash will be the exclusive marketplace ad solution partner for DoorDash U.S. restaurants and grocers that buy interactive shoppable ads on Roku. This arrangement enables DoorDash merchants to place click-to-order offers within their Roku ads — and better attribute, target and measure TV streaming ads on the platform.

According to Roku data, 33% of Roku users order take-out or food delivery weekly. In addition, 36% of Roku users are interested in receiving interactive offers including a scannable QR code or text message.

“Streaming and delivery just go together, which is why we’re making it easier than ever for Roku users to order their favorite food right from their TV,” Gidon Katz, president of consumer experience at Roku, said in a statement.

Longtime DoorDash partner Wendy’s is joining forces with Roku to deliver fast food to streamers. Roku subscribers who see the Wendy’s ad will have access to $5 off with any Wendy’s purchase of $15 or more through March 12.

Rob Edell, GM and head of consumer engagement at DoorDash, said the partnership enables DoorDash merchant partners with an opportunity to promote service through TV streaming.

“Partnering with DoorDash and Roku as the first brand to enable shoppable TV offers is a new step towards our goal of being the best in delivery,” said Carl Loredo, U.S. chief marketing officer for The Wendy’s Company.

Roku Touts Live ‘Big Game’ (Super Bowl LVII) Coverage via ‘The Rich Eisen Show’

The Roku Channel is bringing Emmy-nominated sports and entertainment talk show “The Rich Eisen Show,” hosted by former ESPN host Rich Eisen, to the Big Game (Super Bowl LVII) Feb. 8-12, from Phoenix. Roku acquired the TV broadcast rights to exclusively stream Eisen’s show last September.

The show will feature celebrity and professional athlete guests, including Michael Irvin, George Kittle, Deion Sanders, Emmitt Smith, Sean Payton, Stefon Diggs, Charles Woodson, Kurt Warner, Joe Montana, Stephen A. Smith, Rob Riggle and Bert Kreischer, among others.

In addition to broadcasting the regular show live from Phoenix, Eisen will showcase hour-long “Big Game Bonus Special” segments throughout the weekend.

“Nothing beats a week at the [Super Bowl], except for streaming the first-ever live show from there for Roku and The Roku Channel,” Eisen said in a statement.

The Roku Channel features free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) channel called “The Rich Eisen Show” on Channel 210, available on the Web, iOS, and Android devices, as well as Amazon Fire TV and select Samsung TVs.

The show will run during its regular live broadcast hours of noon to 3 p.m. ET/9 a.m. to noon PT, with replays to follow throughout the weekend. The weekend Big Game Bonus Special will broadcast at noon ET, 9 a.m. PT, 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT and 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT on Saturday, Feb. 11,and Sunday, Feb. 12.

Warner Bros. Discovery Launching FAST Channels on Roku AVOD Platform

Roku and Warner Bros. Discovery Jan. 31 announced the signing of a  groundbreaking deal to bring Warner Bros. branded free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) channels to The Roku Channel. Channels are devoted myriad original Warner Bros. Television content, including “Westworld,” “The Bachelor,” “Cake Boss,” “Say Yes to the Dress” and “F-Boy Island,” among others.

The FAST channels are part of Warner Bros. Discovery’s inaugural move to diversify distribution of original content across AVOD channels. The deal includes about 2,000 hours of on-demand library programming from HBO, HBO Max, Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network, TLC and Warner Bros. Pictures.

“As FAST continues to explode in popularity amongst cord-cutters, we’re seeing content players increasingly shift their focus towards capturing this audience,” Rob Holmes, Roku’s outgoing VP of programming, said in a statement.

The news builds on The Roku Channel’s significant enhancement of its FAST offering over the past year, with deals that added programming from AMC Networks, NBCUniversal, WMX (Warner Music Experience), and the National Hockey League, among other content sources.

Their innovative platforms provide us with new ways to bring our content to fans across the country,” said David Decker, president of content sales for Warner Bros. Discovery.

The Roku Channel claims to be the No. 1 TV streaming channel by hours streamed in the country, and was a top five channel by both active account reach and streaming hour engagement in the third quarter of 2022. The channel also ranked first in reach amongst AVOD/FAST services in the U.S., according to TiVo’s most recent quarterly Video Trends Report.

Roku Tops 70 Million Active Accounts Globally

Roku Jan. 5 announced that the number of global active accounts now exceeds 70 million through the end of 2022. That’s up about 10 million accounts since the end of 2021. Globally, streaming hours reached 23.9 billion in Q4 and 87.4 billion for full-year 2022, a 19% increase year-over-year.

In 2022, time spent streaming surpassed cable for the first time, according to Nielsen. And eMarketer predicts in 2023 less than half of U.S. households are expected to have legacy pay-TV.

Roku’s active account milestone was reached as the company announced its first-ever Roku-branded TV on Jan. 4. The launch of Roku Select and Roku Plus Series TVs are the first ever to be both designed and made by Roku. Roku Select and Plus Series TVs will be available in the U.S. in the spring.

Additionally, The Roku Channel, the streaming company’s branded ad-supported platform, has expanded its original content offerings. Over the last year, The Roku Channel premiered its first original movie, Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, and added Roku Originals, including “The Great American Baking Show,” “Martha Gardens,” “Emeril Cooks” and “The Rich Eisen Show.” Roku also set to stream the Miss Universe beauty pageant on Jan. 14.

Nordic Streamer Viaplay Expands U.S. Footprint on The Roku Channel

Scandinavia’s Viaplay Group and Roku Dec. 19 announced a multiyear partnership that makes Viaplay’s 1,500 hours of Nordic content available on The Roku Channel in the United States through subscription. The Roku Channel reached U.S. households with an estimated 80 million people at the end of 2021.

Since premiering its first original show in 2016, Viaplay has emerged as a prolific producer of Nordic content, including psychologically penetrating crime dramas — a style of screen storytelling known as “Nordic noir.” Viaplay content also includes young adult series, historical dramas, and documentaries, among other content.

Viaplay shows available on Viaplay through The Roku Channel include the Danish thriller Trom, starring Ulrich Thomsen (“The New Pope”); Swedish crime series “No Time to Mourn”; and Norway drama Exit, with Tobias Santelmann (Point Break).

“Launching on The Roku Channel offers Viaplay outstanding reach in the world’s largest streaming market,” Vanda Rapti, Viaplay Group chief commercial officer for North America and Viaplay Select, said in a statement. “Premium Nordic content has a dedicated audience in the U.S., and fans can now experience the most stylish and thrilling stories that the region has to offer.”

In addition to The Roku Channel, Viaplay is currently available in the U.S. via Comcast’s Xfinity platforms. Viaplay will make its own direct-to-consumer Viaplay app available in the U.S. with a separate launch in early 2023.

The Roku Channel Secures Exclusive Rights to ‘Miss Universe’ Beauty Pageant

The Roku Channel has inked an exclusive one-year deal to live-stream for the first time the 71st Miss Universe beauty pageant from New Orleans on Jan. 14, 2023, at 7 p.m. ET. Roku replaces Fox as the official broadcast partner. The pageant will be simulcast in Spanish on Telemundo.

The international event will be hosted at New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center where almost 90 women from around the world will compete for the title. The competition, which will feature categories such as interviews, evening gown, swimwear and community impact, will culminate with the 70th Miss Universe, Harnaaz Sandhu, crowning her successor.

“For the first time ever, Americans are watching more streaming TV than cable,” Amy Emmerich, CEO at The Miss Universe Organization, said in a statement. “With this profound shift in the way audiences watch content underway, we’re thrilled to partner with Roku to bring the competition to the streaming world and reach previously untapped audiences across the United States.”

In Q4 2021, The Roku Channel reached U.S. households with an estimated 80 million people. The ad-supported platform was a top five channel on Roku in the United States. by active account reach and streaming hour engagement in Q3 2022. Today, The Roku Channel features a diverse lineup of more than 80,000 free movies and programs and more than 350 free live linear television channels in the U.S.

The Miss Universe competition will air in more than 165 countries around the world. The domestic distribution deal was brokered by WME.

The Roku Channel Exclusive AVOD Home to ‘The Jennifer Hudson Show’

Roku Dec. 1 announced that The Roku Channel is now the exclusive AVOD home for new daytime talk show, “The Jennifer Hudson Show,” starring Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony winner Jennifer Hudson.   

The distribution deal between Roku and the show’s producer Warner Bros. Unscripted Television includes all previously aired episodes of the series, with all new episodes available to stream the day after their broadcast air.

Hudson, who has also appeared on “The Voice” as a celebrity judge, interviews celebrities, community heroes, viral sensations, and covers topical news and music. 

 “The authentic spirit that Jennifer brings to each episode of the series has already won over the hearts of audiences across the country,” Rob Holmes, VP of programming for Roku, said in a statement. 

Produced in Los Angeles by Warner Bros. Unscripted Television in association with Telepictures and distributed in national syndication by Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, “The Jennifer Hudson Show” is executive produced by Mary Connelly, Andy Lassner, Corey Palent, Jennifer Hudson, Lisa Kasteler Calio, Graehme Morphy, and Walter Williams III, with Shani Black as co-executive producer. 

“The momentum [the show] has experienced since debuting [in syndication] only three months ago, speaks volumes about Jennifer’s ability to connect with audiences,” said David Decker, head of content licensing for Warner Bros. Discovery. “Adding J.Hud to the Roku Channel gives fans a whole new way to connect with her, which is what we are all about.”