Kids YouTube Channel CoComelon Available on Roku Channel

Kids YouTube channel CoComelon is now available on The Roku Channel, Roku and Treasure Studio announced.

The channel offers a selection of children’s songs and videos that help preschoolers learn letters, numbers, animal sounds, colors and more. Available through the Kids & Family experience on The Roku Channel, the launch marks the first time CoComelon programming will be available outside of YouTube.

“At CoComelon, we’re driven by being able to engage families with entertaining and educational content that makes universally relatable preschool moments fun,” Jay Jeon, creator/founder of Treasure Studio, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to launch with Roku today to make our popular programming available to Roku fans everywhere. Roku shares our deep commitment to creating positive content environments for children and brings a unique ability to engage and promote programming to audiences especially within The Roku Channel. This partnership is an important component of our strategy to be everywhere our audience is today.”

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“CoComelon is beloved by tens of millions of children around the world and is a natural fit for our growing selection of content available to the millions of families who are increasingly turning to The Roku Channel every day for both entertainment and educational content,” Rob Holmes, Roku VP of programming and engagement, said in a statement. “CoComelon joins a robust line-up of children’s programming within our Kids & Family experience and we could not be more excited to welcome their incredible streaming content to The Roku Channel.”

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CoComelon videos include “Bath Song,” “Yes, Yes Vegetables,” “Baa Baa Black Sheep,” “Wheels on the Bus,” and “Baby Shark Submarine,” which have amassed billions of views.

Kids & Family on The Roku Channel, which launched last fall, offers more than 20,000 TV episodes and movies.

Roku Says Pandemic ‘May Accelerate’ Platform Growth

Nothing like a global pandemic to invigorate business — and costs.

Streaming media device pioneer Roku May 7 said most business-wide metrics surged during-and-after the first quarter, ended March 31. Active accounts grew about 38% to 39.8 million compared to the previous-year period at 29.8 million accounts — driven by 70% year-over-year increase in new accounts.

Streaming hours rose by about 80% year-over-year, driven by an increase in streaming hours per account of approximately 30%. The company said pandemic-associated stay-at-home orders and increased unemployment appear to have accelerated the shift from linear TV viewing to streaming during the past few weeks.

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Roku cited Nielsen data indicating primetime linear viewing among adults 18-34 from March 16 to April 19 decreased 18% year-over-year, with about 50% of TV content consumption streamed.

In a shareholder letter, founder/CEO Anthony Wood and CFO Steve Louden said player sales increased 25% year-over-year. Roku TV models now account for more than one in three smart TVs sold in the U.S. and more 25% of smart TVs sold in Canada. Streaming hours increased by 1.6 billion hours to a record 13.2 billion.

“[We] have benefited from a surge in OTT usage,” Wood and Louden wrote. “Current events have increased overall demand for both players and Roku TV models around the world.”

Yet while net revenue grew 55% to $321 million, and platform revenue increased 73% to $233 million, costs ballooned 76% to $196 million, driven in parts by sales and marketing. Net loss skyrocketed more than 500% to $55 million from $10 million.

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Wood and Louden said Roku is working with retail partners and TV brands to plan for the rest of the year — given the possibility of restrictions or changes in consumer shopping patterns during traditionally strong sales periods such as Back-to-School, Black Friday and Christmas.

“Over the longer term, not only do we believe that the trends that we expect to define the streaming decade will remain intact, but changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic may even accelerate Roku’s path to greater platform scale,” they wrote.

Roku Channel Bows in the United Kingdom

Roku late April 6 announced the arrival of its ad-supported free The Roku Channel in the United Kingdom featuring more than 10,000 movies, TV episodes and documentaries. There are no subscriptions, fees or logins required to access The Roku Channel.

The AVOD platform is available to consumers with a Roku streaming player, Roku TV, Now TV device (manufactured by Roku) or Sky Q box.

The channel features a selection of popular global and British TV series, including titles such as “Homes Under the Hammer,” “The Commander,” “Ultimate Force,” “Fifth Gear,” “Skins” and “Britain’s Best Bakery,” alongside Hollywood movies such as Get Carter, The Wicker Man and Les Miserables.

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“With The Roku Channel we are making it easy for consumers to find great free entertainment,” Rob Holmes, VP of programming, said in a statement. “Ad-supported viewing is one of the fastest growing categories on our platform and we are excited to meet the consumer demand for free TV.”

The channel includes personalized recommendations and search capabilities on Roku and Now TV devices. Users will also find a special “kids & family” section, easy for children and parents to find age-appropriate content. There is also a character row, helping parents and kids find shows. Titles include “Bob the Builder,” “Teletubbies,” “Oddbods,” “Bernard,” “Ryan’s World Specials,” “Fireman Sam” and “Baby Einstein Classics.”

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The Roku Channel helps existing publishers on the Roku platform as well as new publishers to drive additional viewership of their content. The Roku Channel in the U.K. features more than 40 content partners, including All3Media International, EndemolShine Group, FilmRise, pocket.watch and DRG, plus Hollywood studios Lionsgate U.K. and Sony Pictures Television, among others.

beIN Sports Xtra Launches on Xumo and Roku Platforms Across Canada

beIN Sports March 9 announced that its ad-supported English-language live sports streaming channel is joining Comcast-owned AVOD platform Xumo and The Roku Channel in Canada.

beIN Sports will offer analysis from Canadian native and five-time Saskatchewan Soccer Association Player of the Year Kaylyn Kyle. The former Canadian Women’s National Team player and Olympic medalist was recently on the ground in Madrid, Spain, covering LaLiga’s El Claśico match between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.

beIN Sports is also streaming live coverage of ongoing LaLiga, Ligue 1, Copa Libertadores, Copa Sudamericana, and Turkish SüperLig soccer.

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“It’s easier than ever to catch [soccer] action in real-time,” Antonio Briceño, deputy managing director for beIN Sports in North America, said in a statement.

Launched in 2012, beIN Sports also features wrestling, mixed martial arts (MMA), skiing and handball, among others.

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The Roku Channel Topped 56 Million Viewers in 2019

It was a banner fiscal 2019 for Roku, co-creator (with Netflix) of the subscription streaming video market. The company continues to make strides in ad-supported VOD through The Roku Channel, which ended 2019 with more than 56 million active viewers.

In the Feb. 13 shareholder letter, founder/CEO Anthony Wood and CFO Steve Louden attributed the viewer growth to expansion of the “quality and scope” of the ad-supported content, launching new subscription channels and increased investment in product and capabilities.

“We have added more than 40 premium subscription channels, launched the ‘kids & family experience,’ and now offer more than 55 live linear channels,” Wood and Louden wrote. “We also continued to expand access to studio and network movie and TV content.”

For the full fiscal year (ended Dec. 31, 2019), Roku exceeded $1.1 billion in revenue and reinforced its position as America’s No. 1 TV streaming platform by hours streamed. The company added a record 4.6 million incremental active accounts in Q4 and ended 2019 with 36.9 million active accounts. Thanks in part to strong holiday sales (and average discount pricing of 10%), player units were up 33% year-over-year.

Platform revenue increased 78% to $740.8 million. Roku added 9.8 million incremental active accounts in 2019 to reach 36.9 million at year-end. Streaming hours increased by 16.3 billion hours to a record 40.3 billion. Average revenue per user (ARPU) increased $5.19 to $23.14 (trailing 12-month basis).

Roku monetized video ad impressions more than doubled again in 2019, and nearly one in three smart TVs sold in the U.S. were Roku TVs.

“In the midst of this ongoing shift in the industry, we continue to execute well against our strategic plans by launching innovative products, being a neutral partner at the center of the streaming ecosystem, building capabilities to aggregate content and engage viewers, and further strengthening our unique advertising platform which offers superior capabilities for brands,” Wood and Louden wrote.

The executives said user engagement with the Roku platform grew as users streamed 11.7 billion hours in the quarter, an increase of 60% year-over-year. This contributed to a record 40.3 billion streaming hours during 2019, a 68% year-over-year increase.

The year-over-year growth rate in streaming hours moderated somewhat in Q4 2019 versus Q4 2018 due in part to the timing of Black Friday falling a week later in 2019 and the partial rollout of the “Are you still watching” feature, which prompts users to confirm they are watching after a period of inactivity.

Finally, platform monetization continued to increase with ARPU up to $23.14 (on a trailing twelve months basis), up 29% year-over-year, as we continued to grow video advertising impressions across the platform, including on The Roku Channel. For Q4 and full year 2019, Roku monetized video advertising impressions more than doubled year-over-year.

Regardless, with growth come additional costs. Roku generated a $17.4 million loss in Q4, compared to net income of $5.5 million during the previous-year period. The loss it expected to increase to $55 million to $60 million in the current fiscal period (ending March 31).

 

TiVo Adds Content Partners to Streaming Video Service

TiVo Jan. 8 formally announced an additional 23 new content partners for its ad-supported TiVo+ video network. The new channels join the current lineup of 26 streaming channels available to TiVo customers.

New content partners include USA Today, Cheddar, Top Stories by Newsy, Sportswire and MMA Junkie. Lifestyle channels include Condé Nast, Tastemade, Latido Music, Mobcrush and Revry.

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The Condé Nast partnership will bring programming from Glamour, Bon Appetit, Traveler, GQ and Wired, while the Tastemade partnership will bring Food, Travel and Home Design programming.

The comedy genre will expand to include “Funny or Die” and “The Chive”. TiVo+ Kids, movies and TV categories will now include “Mr. Bean & Friends,” “Kabillion,” “Law & Crime,” “American Classics,” “OMG! Network” and “Reel Truth.”

TiVo+ is attempting to join a growing ad-supported VOD market that includes The Roku Channel, Amazon’s IMDb TV, Pluto TV, Tubi, Shout! Factory TV and Crackle, among others.

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“In a world where people have more entertainment subscriptions than they can count on one hand, TiVo is working to bring everything together in one place for viewers,” CEO Dave Shull said in a statement.

 

Roku Streaming Free Premium Content Through End of the Year

Roku Dec. 9 announced its second annual Stream-a-thon, from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, 2020, enabling users free access to a selection of premium content with no subscription needed on The Roku Channel.

Separately, Roku is expanding its Premium Subscriptions with a new HBO + Cinemax Value Pack, which is available for $20.99.

For the first time on The Roku Channel, season one of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” will be available to stream (beginning Dec. 26) without an HBO subscription. Additionally, this year viewers will be able to use Roku Search to discover Stream-a-thon content.

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“Stream-a-thon marks the conclusion of an eventful year for The Roku Channel, which included milestones such as the introduction of Premium Subscriptions, the expansion of our live and linear channel offering, the debut of Kids & Family, and the addition of value packs,” Rob Holmes, VP of programming and engagement, said in a statement.

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Since launching in 2017, The Roku Channel has become a top 5 channel on the Roku platform by active account reach. In 2019, The Roku Channel expanded its entertainment offering with 80,000+ free, ad-supported and premium movies and TV episodes, launched 40+ Premium Subscription services, reached 50+ live and linear streaming services, and introduced Kids & Family entertainment from nearly 30 partners.

“We are thrilled that HBO will be part of Roku’s Stream-a-thon this December,” said Sofia Chang, president of WarnerMedia Distribution. “There will be something for all Roku users to enjoy over the holidays from HBO without a need for an HBO subscription.”

Premium Subscription partners celebrating this year’s Stream-a-thon include Cinemax, CONtv, Dove Channel, Epix, FitFusion, The Great Courses Signature, HBO, Hallmark Movies Now, Pantaya, Smithsonian Channel Plus, Starz, Showtime, Stingray Karaoke, UP Faith & Family, and more.
Unlocked Complete First Seasons

First full seasons of the following premium shows include:

“Game of Thrones” (HBO)
“Warrior” (Cinemax)
“Power” (Starz) – complete first season available throughout the month of December
“Billions,” “The Affair,” and “Ray Donovan” (SHOWTIME)
“Ancient Mesopotamia: Life in the Cradle of Civilization,” “The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking,” “How Jesus Became God” (The Great Courses Signature)
“Bringing Up Bates,” “Design Twins,” “Expecting,” “Growing Up McGhee,” “Last Hope,” “Our Wedding Story,” “Unboxed with Nikki Chu” (UP Faith & Family)

Other programming includes:

“Barry,” “Chernobyl,” “Euphoria,” “Sesame Street,” and “Succession” (HBO)
“Kidding” (Showtime)
“Get Shorty,” “Pennyworth,” and “Punk” (Epix)
“Abbott and Costello The Christmas Show,” “Anytime Fireplace,” “Gumby’s Christmas Capers,” “MXC,” “Sonic Christmas Blast,” and “Super Mario Bros Super Show” (CONtv)
“A Christmas Kiss,” “A Golden Christmas 3,” “A Heartland Christmas,” “Naughty and Nice,” “Paper Angels,” “Tappy Toes,” “The Nutcracker Sweet,” and “The Perfect Gift” (Dove Channel)
“Jillian Michael: Beginner Shred – Workout 1,” “Cassey Ho: POP Pilates for Beginners,” “Dashama: Mermaid Pose,” “Elle Young: BodyBurn,” “Kenta Seki: Fusion 15 – Total Body,” “Tara Stiles – Strala CORE,” and “Zuzka Light: HIIT Cardio – Workout 1” (FitFusion)
“Ancient Civilizations of North America,” “Ancient Mesopotamia: Life in the Cradle of Civilization,” “The Apocryphal Jesus,” “The Black Death: The World’s Most Devastating Plague,” “The Celtic World,” “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Techniques for Retraining Your Brain,” “Fundamentals of Photography,” “How to Draw,” “Learning Spanish: How to Understand and Speak a New Language,” “Outsmart Yourself: Brain-Based Strategies to a Better You,” “Reading Biblical Literature: Genesis to Revelation,” “The Rise of Rome” (The Great Courses Signature)
“From the Ashes,” “Marrying Father Christmas,” “Royal New Year’s Eve,” and “When Hope Calls” (Hallmark Movies Now)
“Las Aparicio,” “Me late chocolate,” “Pastorela,” and “Yule Log” (Pantaya)
“Aerial Cities,” “America in Color,” “Million Dollar American Princesses,” and “Orangutan Jungle School” (Smithsonian Channel Plus)
“Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley,” “Feliz Navidad – Boney M,” “Last Christmas – Wham!,” “Jingle Bells,” and “The Twelve Days of Christmas – Kids” (Stingray Karaoke)
“Angels in the Snow,” “Christmas Angel,” “DNA Dinners,” “Marry Me for Christmas” (UP Faith & Family)
HBO + Cinemax Value Pack

 

As Planet Earth Turns to Streaming Video, ViacomCBS Aims for Pluto (TV)

Prior to Viacom’s re-merger with CBS Corp., the media giant had scant over-the-top video properties. Now with the addition of CBS All Access and Showtime OTT, the company claims about 16 million paying subscription streaming subscribers.

That’s 20% less than the 20 million monthly viewers who stream content for free on Pluto TV — the San Francisco-based ad-supported VOD service Viacom acquired earlier this year for $340 million.

That user tally reflects a 70% year-over-year gain in consumer traction for Pluto and underscores Viacom’s strategic move to compete against Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and other high-profile SVOD services with old-school ad-supported content.

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“Our focus on an investment in Pluto is evident,” Bob Bakish, CEO of ViacomCBS, said on the recent fiscal call. “In Q4 alone, Pluto launched 43 new channels and last month, Pluto Latino added 11 new channels given the platform of total 22 channels with over 4,000 hours of Spanish and Portuguese language programming.”

The opportunity for Pluto TV Latino is significant given the size of the Hispanic population, as well as gaps within the existing programming landscape. As the largest minority market, the group has a combined buying power of $1.5 trillion, according to research from the University of Georgia.

The once-dominant Spanish-language broadcast network, Univision, has been steadily losing viewers for years and has been locked in a battle with Comcast-owned Telemundo for younger, bilingual viewers. Meanwhile, streaming services such as Hulu, Sling, and fuboTV offer Spanish-language content, but the additional cost of these services is leading to “subscription fatigue.”

“There are all sorts of creative programming ideas we can test with the audience that hasn’t been done before,” Tom Ryan, co-founder and CEO of Pluto TV, said. “If they work, we can be nimble and double down on them.”

Indeed, AVOD revenue is projected to more than double between 2018 and 2024, topping $56 billion across 138 countries — including the U.S.

Next year, NBC Universal is launching an ad-supported streaming service dubbed “Peacock,” which joins industry players such Tubi TV, which bowed in 2014 with more than 9,000 movies and television shows, Amazon’s IMDb TV and The Roku Channel, among others.

“The U.S. will more than triple its AVOD revenue total between 2018 and 2024 to $19.23 billion — or 34% of the global total,” said Simon Murray, analyst with Digital TV Research.

Bakish said Viacom would continue to grow Pluto TV distribution globally and on new platforms, which he said would benefit both viewers and business partners.

He said Pluto has not only been a driver to restoring overall Viacom ad sales growth, it’s also been a platform to enable Viacom to “radically” increase the number of clients it does business with.

“In the crowded subscription universe, as consumers become increasingly more value conscious, we strongly believe that having the leading free streaming service in the country and over time, the world is a huge competitive advantage,” Bakish said.

 

Roku Offering Free Premium Content on Ad-Supported Channel

The Roku Channel, the subscription streaming media device manufacturer’s ad-supported service offering users access to third-party catalog programming, Sept. 30 began showcasing select third-party premium content — for free.

In a blog post, Roku announced it is offering programming from CBS-owned Showtime, MGM-owned Epix, HISTORY, Cinedigm, and Acorn TV, among others, in an attempt to jumpstart subscriptions to third-party services.

Programming includes: “On Becoming a God in Central Florida” (SHOWTIME), “Godfather of Harlem” (EPIX), “America The Story of Us” (HISTORY Vault), “Heartland” (Dove Channel), and “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries” (Acorn TV), and more, with no subscription or even trial required.

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“Once you’ve sampled your new favorite show, follow one-click sign-up to begin a free trial or start a subscription,” Nicole Fencel, senior manager, programming product strategy at Roku, said in statement.

The Roku Channel is upping third-party premium over-the-top video services, as well as offering more than 80,000 ad-supported movies and TV episodes, more than 35 live and linear streaming services, including kids & family entertainment. 

 

TiVo Prepping Ad-Based VOD Service

Digital video recording pioneer TiVo is looking to join the “+” video bandwagon.

The company is quietly assembling an ad-supported video-on-demand service to compete against platforms such as The Roku Channel, Pluto TV, Philo TV, Shout! Factory TV, Tubi, Crackle+ and  IMDb TV, among others.

In a post on the TiVo community blog, Ted Malone, VP of consumer products and services, said the company has secured third-party content agreements for the service.

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“Our soon to be launched TiVo+ video service will include dozens of channels of free entertainment,” Malone wrote. “We have assembled an amazing set of partners as part of this service and will be evolving it in the coming months with many more channels, on-demand movies and shows and other specialty content coming as well.”

With Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu dominating the subscription VOD market as pioneers in the space, ad-supported VOD has emerged as a free alternative to consumers featuring largely catalog content.

With studios and other content holders eager to mine a new revenue stream, AVOD has gone mainstream beyond early pioneers Shout! Factory and Sony’s Crackle.

TiVo last week announced it would begin rolling ads playing ahead of consumers’ recorded TV content.

Malone, in his post, reiterated that users will be able to skip the ads, which are “served dynamically” when playback starts. Ads do not appear after a user pauses and resumed playback of content.

“As part of our commitment to improve the experience, we are measuring each step in the process and will be continually optimizing the ads to reduce latency and improve performance,” he wrote.