Discovery+ SVOD Launches on The Roku Channel

Roku and Warner Bros. Discovery May 10 announced that nonfiction subscription streaming service Discovery+ has launched on The Roku Channel. Available in the U.S., users can now subscribe to both the ad-free ($6.99) and ad-supported ($4.99) versions directly through The Roku Channel.

Discovery+ offers 70,000 episodes of current and classic shows from a portfolio of networks, including HGTV, Food Network, TLC, ID, OWN, Travel Channel, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and Magnolia Network, as well as more than 200 Discovery+ original titles.

Users of The Roku Channel can now browse Discovery+ content before signing up, and enjoy a free seven-day trial, no extra apps or other fees required. Once registered, users can stream content from within The Roku Channel.

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“The launch of Discovery+ on The Roku Channel makes it easy for our users to access this compelling content, while enabling Discovery to reach incremental audiences,” Rob Holmes, VP of programming at Roku, said in a statement.

Launched on Jan. 4, 2021, Discovery+ ended the most-recent fiscal period with 24 million subscribers.

“We’re pleased to deepen our relationship with Roku, a valued partner, and expand access of Discovery+ on the Roku platform,” said Gabriel Sauerhoff, SVP of digital distribution and commercial partnerships for Warner. Bros. Discovery.

With the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery, it remains to be seen how Warner Bros. Discovery melds Discovery+ with HBO Max.

“We look forward to further extending the reach of our exceptional library of lifestyle and real-life content to millions of Roku streamers and providing them increased optionality in how they access Discovery+,” Sauerhoff said.

Cinedigm Bows Fandor Streaming Service on The Roku Channel

Cinedigm May 9 announced that indie movie streaming platform Fandor is now available to subscribe to through The Roku Channel. Fandor is replacing Fandor Spotlight, which was previously available as a premium subscription on The Roku Channel.

Existing Fandor Spotlight subscribers will receive access to the new Fandor service, which includes a new look and new exclusive premieres. The re-launch marks a major milestone for the revamped Fandor, as The Roku Channel reached U.S. households with an estimated 80 million people in Q4 2021.

Fandor boasts a library of more than 1,000 hours of films and series in dozens of genres, including comedy, drama, film noir, and science fiction to rare gems including creature-feature, Pre-Code, avant-garde and grindhouse.

Originally launched in 2011, Fandor has served as a pioneer in the elevation of independent film through its streaming platform as well as through written and video editorial pieces dedicated to the art of cinema. The streaming service is refreshed monthly with films and series, including the documentary Coming Clean, focusing on the growing opioid epidemic in the U.S.; the music doc The Sound of Scars, which follows the rise and fall of the trailblazing hard rock group Life of Agony; and the festival darling Moon Rock for Monday set to exclusively premiere on Fandor May 24.

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“With the channel’s new look and enhanced content selection, we aim to elevate the art of cinema and the voices within its community,” Philip Hopkins, president of Fandor, said in a statement. “The last few years have seen tremendous growth in independent film consumption, and we look forward to giving fellow movie lovers Fandor premieres each month.”

Cinedigm previously launched Screambox, The Dove Channel, CONtv and Docurama on The Roku Channel.

The Roku Channel Inks Deals for Original/Catalog Content Featuring Martha Stewart, Chef Emeril Lagasse

The Roku Channel May 3 announced it has inked co-production deals to develop seven all-new original series starring lifestyle and culinary personalities Martha Stewart, Chef Emeril Lagasse and home cooking expert Christopher Kimball.

In addition to the all-new original series, the deals will bring complete past seasons of Stewart, Lagasse and Kimball series to the ad-supported streaming platform. Streamers will have access to more than 3,000 episodes of library content. The Roku Channel will further extend the ways users can watch the content by creating linear channels featuring the programming for its Live TV Guide.

“These exciting first-of-their-kind partnerships for Roku with Marquee Brands and Milk Street Studios, showcase our unique ability to drive value across the streaming ecosystem,” Rob Holmes, VP, Programming at Roku, said in a statement.

The deal ushers in new programming to bolster both The Roku Channel’s original and licensed content offerings and further enhances the depth of food and lifestyle content available for streamers.

“Martha and Emeril are two of the most trusted names in the food and home sectors and we can’t wait to serve up all-new series for millions of streamers to devour soon,” said Neil Fiske, CEO of Marquee Brands. “This comes at an exciting time for Martha as we continue to build Martha.com into an online commerce and content destination, as well as expand our product offering with Emeril.”

Marquee Brands – Martha Stewart Productions

“Martha Cooks”

 Lifestyle icon Martha Stewart cooks 100 of her favorite recipes, working with world renowned chefs and dear friends, all from her home kitchen in Bedford, New York.

“Martha Holidays” (working title)

Martha Stewart is your host for everything holiday! From festive family dishes and dazzling desserts, from decorating tips to thoughtful gift ideas, Martha will share her secrets for a successful and joyous holiday season.

“Martha Gardens”

Martha Stewart is a passionate gardener and cultivator of plants and vegetables. Over the course of a year in the life of her incredible 153-acre farm, Martha will share the tips, tricks and tools that gardeners of all skill levels need to be successful—and have fun.

Marquee Brands – Emeril Lagasse Productions

“Emeril Cooks”

Famous for bringing his creative take on Creole and Cajun cuisine to the masses, celebrity chef, author and restauranteur Emeril Lagasse is excited to be back with some of his favorite recipes. “Emeril Cooks” will fuse the rich traditions of New Orleans cuisine with brand new dishes and techniques inspired by Emeril’s renowned restaurant menus and line of cookbooks.

“Emeril Tailgates”

Whether you’re in the parking lot or the living room, no game is complete without the food and drinks you share with family and friends. Chef and grill master Emeril Lagasse will add his signature “kick” to regionally specific dishes inspired by popular tailgate fare from across the country, from Buffalo wings to Kansas City BBQ.

Milk Street Studios Productions

“Milk Street’s Cooking School”

Christopher Kimball brings Milk Street’s Cooking School to The Roku Channel. With appealing, approachable recipes from around the world, Kimball and his team of experts seek to inspire home cooks to try new techniques, ingredients, and tools that will make them more confident, more successful and more excited to get in the kitchen.

“Milk Street’s My Family Recipe”

Few things evoke such emotion as food shared with family. With a combination of historical context and modern culinary know-how, Christopher Kimball and James Beard Award Winner Cheryl Day will help home cooks recreate lost or forgotten cherished family recipes. My Family Recipe is more than a cooking show – it’s a show about history, community, family, and memories, and how food ties it all together.

Library Content Coming to The Roku Channel

Users of The Roku Channel will be able to view and enjoy complete seasons of Martha Stewart, Emeril Lagasse and Milk Street series. The Roku Channel will also create dedicated linear channels for users to watch the programming through its Live TV Guide.

·   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

·   Emeril Live Seasons 1-19

·   Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Television Seasons 1-5

Lionsgate and The Roku Channel Ink Multiyear Deal for Lionsgate Theatrical Films

Lionsgate and The Roku Channel April 26 announced a multiyear output deal for theatrically released Lionsgate movies beginning with the studio’s 2022 theatrical releases. Under the terms of the agreement, Roku’s ad-supported streaming channel will receive two separate windows for each film, the first of which provides exclusive rights to Lionsgate’s film slate immediately following its first window on the Starz multi-distribution channel.

The deal includes properties such as the John Wick franchise starring Keanu Reeves; Expendables 4 and Borderlands, directed by Eli Roth and starring Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett, Kevin Hart, Jamie Lee Curtis and Jack Black.

It also includes director Kelly Fremon Craig’s Are You There God?; It’s Me, Margaret, produced by Academy Award winner James L. Brooks and adapted from the Judy Blume classic; White Bird: A Wonder Story, starring Helen Mirren and Gillian Anderson in the follow-up to the box office hit Wonder, and the Nicolas Cage starrer The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

“This partnership with The Roku Channel shows our ability to capitalize on opportunities in today’s complex television landscape with a multifaceted, layered approach that meets everyone’s needs,” Jim Packer, president of worldwide television distribution at Lionsgate, said in a statement.

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Roku, which launched The Roku Channel in 2017, has been upping the platform’s original content as its user base expands. In Q4 2021, the channel reached 80 million people in the U.S., ranking among the top five channels on the platform in the U.S. by active account reach in Q3 and Q4. Today, the channel features a lineup of more than 80,000 free movies and programs and more than 275 free live linear television channels in the U.S. It licenses and distributes content from more than 250 partners.

This innovative approach [with Lionsgate] creates value for both parties, and most importantly provides the millions of streamers on The Roku Channel with the opportunity to enjoy these compelling titles via this unique window,” added Rob Holmes, VP of programming at Roku.

Jessica Alba to Co-Host and Executive Produce Roku Original DIY Program ‘Honest Renovations’

Roku April 20 announced the greenlight of an all-new original series, “Honest Renovations” for The Roku Channel, co-hosted by Jessica Alba and Lizzy Mathis, founder/editor of The Cool Mom Co. Alba and Mathis will also serve as executive producers for the series.

The series will feature eight, one-hour episodes and kick off production later this year. The series is produced by High Noon Entertainment (“Fixer Upper, “Good Bones”), Mexican Spitfire and 3 Arts Entertainment and executive produced by Alba, Mathis, Michael Rotenberg, Dunia McNeily, Oly Obst and Scott Feeley.

As working mothers and entrepreneurs, Alba and Mathis are familiar with the challenges and pressures of parenting. “Honest Renovations” follows the pair as they help deserving families complete the home renovations of their dreams and confront issues about parenting through candid conversations.

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“Jessica and Lizzy’s compassion, mixed with no-nonsense approach to parenting, will offer our viewers a fresh, relatable, and bold twist on the home renovation genre,” Brian Tannenbaum, head of alternative originals at Roku, said in a statement.

High Noon Entertainment, an ITV America company, is known for long-running HGTV series “Fixer Upper,” TLC’s “Cake Boss,” “Good Bones,” “Farmhouse Fixer with Jonathan Knight,” “Unsellable Houses” and “Bargain Block,” as well as Nat Geo Wild’s “Dog Impossible,” with upcoming series for platforms and networks, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Food Network and Discovery+, among others.

“Honest Renovations” joins the expanding slate of Roku Originals. Half of the top 10 on-demand titles by reach on The Roku Channel in 2021 were Roku Originals.

The Roku Channel to Bow Original Comedy Series ‘Children Ruin Everything’ on May 13

Roku April 19 announced that season one of Roku Original comedy “Children Ruin Everything,” will debut on The Roku Channel in the United States on May 13. Roku has picked up season two of the series, which will feature double (16) the 30-minute episodes of season one. Production for season two is to begin this spring in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario.

Created by Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winner Kurt Smeaton (“Schitt’s Creek”), “Children Ruin Everything” is about living with the worst roommates of all: young children. Astrid (Meaghan Rath) and James (Aaron Abrams) struggle to find a balance between being Mom and Dad to two kids and being who they were before offspring.

“This story is universal, endearing, and audiences will instantly relate with these characters,” said Colin Davis, head of scripted originals at Roku, in a statement.

The series is produced and developed by New Metric Media in association with 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 international sales agent. While airing in Canada, the series was the No. 1 new comedy of the 2021-22 broadcast season and ranked as the biggest debut episode for a Canadian comedy among since 2019.

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In addition to Rath (“Being Human,” “Hawaii 5-0”) and Abrams (“Blindspot,” “Hannibal”), the series also stars Ennis Esmer (“Blindspot,” “Schitt’s Creek”), Nazneen Contractor (“Ransom,” “Heroes Reborn”),  Logan Nicholson (“Blues Clues and You”), Mikayla SwamiNathan, Dmitry Chepovetsky (“Killjoys,” “Departure”), Veena Sood (“Corner Gas Animated,” “The Indian Detective”), Lisa Codrington (“Letterkenny,” “Anne With an E”), and Darius Rota.

Launched in 2017, The Roku Channel reached U.S. households with an estimated 80 million people in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2021. The Roku Channel was a top five channel on the Roku platform in the United States by active account reach in Q3 and Q4 2021. The platform features a lineup of more than 80,000 free movies and programs and more than 275 free live linear television channels in the United States. It licenses and distributes content from more than 250 partners.

In addition to Roku devices, The Roku Channel is available on Web, iOS and Android devices, Amazon Fire TV and select Samsung TVs.

Genius Brands Expands Kartoon Channel! on The Roku Channel

Following the success of the Kartoon Channel! app on the Roku platform, Genius Brands International April 18 announced that it would offer a dedicated Kartoon Channel! on ad-supported The Roku Channel — further expanding the channel’s presence on Roku.

The Roku Channel reached U.S. households with an estimated 80 million people in Q4 2021. Users now have access to Kartoon Channel!’s full slate of original programming and children’s brands, including “Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten,” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger; the new fast-paced trivia original gameshow series for kids, “KC! Pop Quiz,” hosted by Nickelodeon star, Casey Simpson; and “Rainbow Rangers,” as well as classics such as “Baby Genius,” “Pac-Man” and much more!

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“As we begin rolling out the new Kartoon Channel! Kidaverse, we’re excited … that in less than two years we are fully distributed in the U.S.,” Jon Ollwerther, president, Kartoon Channel!, said in a statement. “We are now…significantly expanding our presence in the digital marketplace,” commented Genius Brands.”

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The Roku Channel, Vevo Partner for ‘Doja Cat’ Live Performance Series

Music video network Vevo Feb. 4 announced it would exclusively release Doja Cat’s Official Live Performance series on The Roku Channel. The longform video, Planet Her, featuring Cat’s longform version of her performances “Ain’t Shit,” “Need to Know” and “Love to Dream” will stream live on The Roku Channel Feb. 5-6.

Official Live Performances are the flagship original content for Vevo, and the result of creative collaboration with artists and their teams, resulting in a series of exclusive performances.

Vevo first launched its app on the Roku platform in 2013. More recently, Roku users have the ability to tune into various genre-specific or decades-dedicated music video channels on ad-supported The Roku Channel. The full Vevo lineup in the U.S. currently includes: Vevo Pop, Vevo R&B, Vevo Hip Hop, Vevo Reggaeton & Trap, Vevo Country, Vevo Latino, Vevo ’70s, Vevo ’80s, Vevo ’90s and Vevo 2K.

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Cat previously worked with Vevo when she was named a Vevo LIFT artist in 2020, releasing exclusive performances of “Say So” and “Streets,” as well as a short film, “The Tale of Becoming Doja Cat.” For Cat’s Official Live Performances, the artist focuses on “futurism, femininity and surrealism,” all while showcasing her power and strength as a performer.

The longform version of Cat’s Official Live Performances will be widely available across the rest of the Vevo network, beginning Feb. 7.

Roku Original Series ‘Swimming With Sharks’ Bowing on The Roku Channel in April

Roku and Lionsgate Feb. 1 announced that “Swimming With Sharks,” the scripted drama series about the dark side of the Hollywood studio system, will make its debut on The Roku Channel in April.

The series is about a Hollywood assistant who turns the tables on an abusive boss. The Roku Original stars Diane Kruger and Kiernan Shipka in a modern take on the cult drama.

“Historically, Hollywood has always represented reinvention, rebirth, starting over. There has never been a better time to embrace that,” writer/showrunner Kathleen Robertson said in a statement. “My goal was to subvert this story and come at if from a place of both wonder and corruption, through the eyes of two complex female perspectives.”

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When Lou Simms (Shipka) starts her internship at Fountain Pictures, she seems like a naïve Hollywood newcomer, awestruck by the studio’s notorious CEO, Joyce Holt (Diane Kruger). In truth, Lou has done extensive research on Joyce and landing this internship was no happy accident. As Lou’s obsession grows, she will do anything to get close to her idol.

“Hollywood can be as cutthroat as it is glamorous,” said Colin Davis, Roku’s head of original scripted programming. “‘Swimming With Sharks’ does not hold back in showcasing the complex, ego driven, and ambition fueled pursuits in one’s attempts to ‘make it’ in a town riddled with more broken dreams than success stories. Kathleen and the talented teams behind and in front of the camera have delivered!”

The series will feature six 30-minute episodes and will air exclusively for free on The Roku Channel in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. The drama also stars Donald Sutherland, Thomas Dekker, Finn Jones, Erica Alexander, Ross Butler and Gerardo Celasco.

“We’re excited to bring ‘Swimming With Sharks’ to television audiences,” added Lionsgate Television Group SVP Jocelyn Sabo. “It has the perfect ingredients for a platform defining premium series — a gripping story, an incredible cast and the ability to connect with viewers. We are delighted to work with Roku once again on another amazing Roku Original.

The series is directed by Tucker Gates, with Chris Cowles, Stephen Israel, Jay Cohen, Dana Brunetti and Liz Destro serving as executive producers.

Roku to Debut First Adult Animated Scripted Series, ‘Doomlands’

Roku on Jan. 20 announced it would launch its first adult animated series, “Doomlands,” on The Roku Channel Jan. 28. 

Series creator Josh O’Keefe’s university film project turned into a crowd-funded pilot and was later developed by Josh Bowen and Look Mom! Productions. The post-apocalyptic comedy follows two aspiring bartenders (voice actors Mark Little and Kayla Lorette) as they sling beers across a hellish wasteland in their mobile pub: The Oasis. Facing ruthless desert gangs, memory-stealing creeps, and even mean bathroom graffiti, all this crew’s got to do to survive is not kill each other.

The series will be available exclusively on The Roku Channel in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. 

“‘Doomlands’ is an homage to Ozploitation and Sci-Fi cinema, and after many years in development, I’m so stoked for it to debut on The Roku Channel,” O’Keefe said in a statement.  

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Bowen, executive producer and managing director of Look Mom! Productions, said the series was produced almost entirely throughout the pandemic from his mom’s basement with the help of “her home cooked meals.”

“The final product is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of our team, and we’re so excited that it’s now a Roku Original,” he said. 

Colin Davis, head of original scripted programming at Roku, believes the series will make O’Keefe a household name in animation.

“What he’s created is clever, laugh-out-loud funny, and indisputably wild, all while grounding the show in excellent characters,” Davis said. “We feel so lucky to be the home to his brilliance.”  

Look Mom! Productions, a Blue Ant Media company, specializes in producing original animated content for teens and adults. The company’s philosophy focuses on a creator-driven approach and prioritizes a collaborative process to produce content. Its slate of programming includes Adult Swim Canada’s “Night Sweats,” VRV’s (USA) “Bigfoot,” and “Gary and His Demons” for Mondo Channel on VRV (USA), CBC Gem (Canada), Comedy Central (UK) and ABC Comedy (Australia). The company is also known for digital shorts such as “Don’t Feed the Humans,” “World Doctors,” and “Crack-Duck,” among others. 

Launched in 2017, The Roku Channel is the home of Roku Originals. From scripted entertainment and documentaries to new unscripted series, Roku Originals gives viewers free access to entertainment from the biggest names in Hollywood. Roku reported about 56.4 million monthly active U.S. users in its most-recent fiscal period.