Cinedigm Launches SVOD Services on The Roku Channel

Cinedigm June 12 announced the launch of SVOD services on The Roku Channel. Roku users can access CONtv, Dove Channel and Docurama beginning today.

Roku Channel users can add the networks to their lineup for $4.99 a month for each. Viewers can browse CONtv, Dove, and Docurama’s programming libraries, personalized recommendations with a free trial period.

Dove Channel features an extensive selection of values-based films, children’s programs, documentaries and series. All content meets the standards of The Dove Foundation and its Faith & Family Dove Seals of Approval.

Dove Channel’s programming lineup include the long-running Canadian drama “Heartland,” Elizabeth Banks in “Lovely Still,” the animated adventure “Ribbit,” and William H. Macy and Brittany Snow in the faith-based drama Dial A Prayer, among many others.

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Adam Scott and Elizabeth Banks in ‘Lovely Still’

CONtv gives audiences access to hundreds of hours of content from an eclectic collection that puts the spotlight on elusive cult films and television shows, and celebrated genre movies ranging from sci-fi, horror, and fantasy, to anime, grindhouse, and martial arts action.

Titles include Hey Vern, It’s Ernest!, and Angela Anaconda, as well as art tutorial The Joy Of Painting with Bob Ross, the thriller Open Windows, and Selena Gomez in the 2014 rock n’ roll comedy Behaving Badly.

Docurama claims to be the first streaming video service devoted to documentary films. Curated by top experts and critics, Docurama delivers hundreds of hours of acclaimed documentaries suited to viewers of all tastes — featuring a content roster covering everything from personal profiles, sports and music, to hard-hitting political exposés and insightful interviews.

“Cinedigm is proud to continue our partnership with Roku, as we launch SVOD services for three of our most popular outlets on The Roku Channel,” Erick Opeka, president of digital networks at Cinedigm, said in a statement. “We look forward to providing Roku users with the eclectic premium programming that our networks are known for.”

Roku Shares Dip on News Amazon is Looking to Expand AVOD Service

Shares of streaming media device manufacturer April 3 Roku closed down nearly 3% after a news reports suggested Amazon is looking to expand ad-supported video-on-demand content on its Fire TV media devices.

If true, the news is significant for Roku, which operates The Roku Channel AVOD service – the fifth most-popular app on the Roku platform.

BusinessInsideand Chedder, citing sources familiar with the situation, said Amazon has been seeking bigger advertising commitments from marketers for the expansion.

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Advertisers spent more than $7 billion on digital spots in 2018, according to eMarketer. Fire TV reportedly has 30 million active registered accounts compared to 27 million for Roku.

The reports say Amazon has been asking for ad pricing commitments comparable to what media companies ask for primetime TV upfronts. Marketers reportedly have been reluctant since Amazon has not disclosed the scope of its expanded content offering.

While Amazon wouldn’t comment, the reports say the ecommerce behemoth is offering marketers targeted viewers, in addition to specific sales data and related non-personal information verifiable by Nielsen.

Separately, (Amazon-owned) IMDb’s AVOD service, Freedive, recently upped its offering of catalog movies, including Blade Runnerand Legally Blonde, and TV shows, “Heroes,” and “Fringe,” among others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Roku Channel Offering Premium SVOD Services

Roku Jan. 28 announced it is offering access to third-party “premium subscriptions” SVOD services on The Roku Channel ad-supported platform.

The streaming media device manufacturer said it would begin sending updates to connected devices in the coming weeks, beginning with branded Roku players and concluding with Roku TV models.

The strategy enables users to browse, trial and subscribe to services such as Epix, Showtime and Starz. Users can watch free and premium channels in one interface and pay a single monthly bill for subscriptions. New subs registered before March 31, get 30-day free trials of those services on The Roku Channel.

The channel is now ranked 8thin popularity among Roku store apps, according to Citi’s Roku/OTT tracker.

Additionally, viewing of The Roku Channel directly from within the mobile app is available for iOS devices starting today. The update for Android devices is expected to begin to roll out in mid-February.

“Now there is one place on the Roku platform where users can seamlessly access both free and premium entertainment, with one click sign-up, easy subscription management and a single monthly bill,” Rob Holmes, VP, programming and engagement at Roku said in a statement.

Users can access more than 25 premium services, including: Baeble Music; CollegeHumor’s Dropout; CuriosityStream; Fandor Spotlight; FitFusion; The Great Courses Signature Collection; Grokker; Hi-Yah!; Hopster; Lifetime Movie Club; Dox, LolFlicks, Monsters and Nightmares, Magnolia Selects, and Warriors & Gangsters presented by Magnolia Pictures; MHz Choice; Noggin; Shout! Factory TV, Smithsonian Channel Plus; Stingray Karaoke; Tastemade; Viewster Anime; and ZooMoo.

Sling TV Offers Free Access to Roku Users

Sling TV Jan. 14 announced it is offering Roku users free access to the online TV platform. Select Roku users will be able to watch TV shows and subscribe to standalone channels, without subscribing to Sling’s platform or entering payment information.

New users will be able to access the Sling TV app, which includes free on-demand shows, movies and even karaoke. Dish Network-owned Sling, which created the online TV market in 2015, also rolled out a new binge-watching feature that enables seamless transitions to the next episode in an on-demand series.

“Our binge-watching feature will do all the work for you by playing the next episode automatically within 10 seconds, even if you don’t select ‘Watch Now,’” Jimshade Chaudhari, VP of product management,wrote in a blog post. “This feature will only appear if there is a subsequent episode existing in a series.”

Roku users can watch episodes of shows like “Shameless,” “The Big Interview with Dan Rather,” “Heartland,” and more at no cost and without signing up for an account.A new search interface is now available on Android TV, Amazon and Roku devices.

Users can also browse pay-per-view events for purchase, such as upcoming UFC events and over 5,000 movie titles with no base subscription to Sling necessary.

 User can also binge-watch shows on Showtime or NBA League Pass, available for purchase without a base subscription. Users can also purchase channels like Stingray Karaoke, Curiosity Stream, and Cinedigm’s Docurama, among à la carte options.

“Sling makes it easy to stream all of your favorite content in the same interface,” Chaudhari said.

 

 

 

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 Says Streaming Video Hours Increased 68% in Q4

Roku Jan. 7 disclosed preliminary fourth-quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2018) data for two key operating metrics, active accounts and streaming hours, underscoring continued momentum for the platform as consumers shift toward streaming video and away from traditional linear TV.

Specifically, active accounts topped 27 million, up roughly 40% year-over-year. Streaming hours were an estimated 7.3 billion hours, up about 68% year-over-year, bringing full-year 2018 streaming hours to about 24 billion, up about 61% from 2017.

“Strong active account growth and accelerating streaming hours point to consumers’ growing enthusiasm for streaming, making Roku America’s largest and fastest growing TV streaming distribution platform,” CEO Anthony Wood said in a statement. “In 2018, we maintained our leadership in streaming players, licensed smart TVs and TV streaming hours. Roku continues to bring viewers more choice, great value, a compelling user experience – and lots of TV fun.”

Roku will report final operating metrics as well as fourth quarter and full-year 2018 financial results in February. The company will provide a 2019 outlook at that time.

 

Roku Adds Third-Party OTT Video Services

Taking a page from Amazon Channels, Roku Jan. 2 announced it is expanding The Roku Channel to include “premium subscriptions.” Users will be able to watch both free ad-supported and paid entertainment in one interface, with personalized recommendations, where they can browse, trial and subscribe to third-party over-the-top video services.

Specifically, The Roku Channel will soon offer users the option to add more than 25 OTT video services such as Showtime®, Starz and Epix into one monthly bill using their existing Roku® account information.

Other platforms include Baeble Music, CollegeHumor’s Dropout, CuriosityStream, FitFusion, The Great Courses Signature Collection, Hopster, Magnolia Selects presented by Magnolia Pictures, MHz Choice, Noggin, Smithsonian Channel Plus, Tastemade, and Viewster Anime, among others.

“We’re focused on making it easy to find great entertainment of all types on the platform and adding Premium Subscriptions is a natural evolution for The Roku Channel,” Rob Holmes, VP, programming and engagement, said in a statement. “By making it easy for users to discover, subscribe to and watch premium subscriptions, we believe this offering will result in increased subscriptions and user engagement for our subscription partners and an even better user experience.”

The Roku Channel will continue to include thousands of free, ad-supported titles available without a subscription and is available on a range of devices; users do not need any subscriptions or memberships in order to access quality free, ad-supported content

Customers will be able to start a free trial or subscribe to new premium subscriptions with one click using their existing Roku account information once they visit the subscription page. All premium content can be trialed for at least seven days. A reminder is sent before each free trial expires and billing starts

Subscriptions will be managed directly from my.roku.com. Customers will receive one monthly bill for all premium subscriptions on The Roku Channel.

In 2015, Amazon launched Amazon Channels, a platform enabling Prime members direct access to third-party OTT video services. Now called Prime Channels, the platform has helped HBO Now, Starz and CBS All Access, Dove Channel, among others, attract myriad new subs through the Prime ecosystem.

The Roku mobile app will soon enable users to watch content from The Roku Channel. For the first time, users with iOS and Android devices will be able to use the Roku mobile app without a Roku device, enabling them to watch The Roku Channel anytime, anywhere in the United States. Users will be able to start a video on a Roku player or Roku TV and pick up from where they left off while on the go.

Premium subscriptions and search capabilities on The Roku Channel will begin rolling out to select Roku devices in late January, with a phased rollout planned for early 2019. The Roku mobile app update will also begin rolling out to iOS and Android devices in late January.

“Bringing our premium programming to a highly engaged user base via The Roku Channel is a great opportunity to expand our reach, drive more viewership and make our range of original TV series and movies more widely accessible to new and growing audiences,” said Joe Glennon, EVP of affiliate sales, Starz, which is owned by Lionsgate

 

Cinedigm Adds Combat Go and Wham to Ad-Supported Roku Channel

Cinedigm has added two more digital channels — the martial arts platform Combat Go by JungoTV and the esports network Wham — as linear offerings on the free, ad-supported Roku Channel.

Both channels also feature a VOD component, and join Cinedigm networks The Dove Channel, CONtv and Docurama, which launched in the Roku Channel Store in September.

The Roku Channel is a top five channel on the platform in active account reach, according to the Cinedigm release. Customers can access content via Roku devices, including Roku TV, as well as via the Web.

Combat Go is a partnership between Cinedigm and the global distribution company JungoTV. Created by JungoTV CEO George Chung, a five-time World Karate Champion and Inductee in the Black Belt Hall of Fame, Combat Go presents curated content selected by martial arts experts, featuring fight commentary and analysis, original docuseries and martial arts movies.

Created for gamers, Wham Network provides programming covering all aspects of the gaming industry from esports to casual gaming. The channel’s offerings include original series, top teams competing in esports tournaments, in-depth coverage of special gaming events, and updates on the latest in esports and gaming news.

“Cinedigm is proud to continue our partnership with Roku, as we bring Combat Go and Wham Network to one of the best-selling streaming devices on the market,” said Erick Opeka, president of Cinedigm Digital Networks. “Martial arts and esports have quickly emerged as two of the most popular sports in the world. Now, with the additions of Combat Go and Wham Network, Roku users will be able experience this global phenomenon first-hand, as they discover and enjoy a diverse range of hard-hitting martial arts action and in-depth esports programming carefully curated by the industry’s top experts.”

Amazon Quashes Ad-Supported Video Streaming Service Rumor

Amazon Oct. 25 nixed media reports the ecommerce behemoth planned to launch a free streaming video service under its IMDb.com brand and accessible via the Amazon Fire TV streaming device.

“We have no plans to build an ad-supported Prime Video offering for free at this time,” Dave Fildes, head of investor relations, said on the fiscal call.

First reported earlier this month by CNBC, the over-the-top service reportedly would have offered catalog movies and TV shows – with advertisers getting access – for the first time to proprietary user data.

With Amazon spending $5 billion on original content for its Prime Video platform this year, and user data a coveted proprietary asset, the likelihood of an in-house competing video streaming service seemed farfetched.

Then again, ad-supported video streaming is the backbone of The Roku Channel, Hulu’s entry-level subscription plan, Sony Crackle and Shout! Factory TV, among others.

 

Analyst: Roku Channel Company’s Fastest Growing Revenue Driver

Roku cut its teeth more than 10 years ago helping Netflix – through a standalone streaming device – create the subscription streaming video market that now dominates home entertainment.

As a publicly-traded company, Roku must grow revenue to appease Wall Street and investors. Doing so exclusively selling low-cost consumer electronics and streaming sticks in an increasingly saturated market won’t work long-term.

About a year ago, the Los Gatos, Calif.-based tech company announced the launch of “The Roku Channel,” a new streaming channel on the Roku platform specifically dedicated to giving users free access to ad-supported catalog movies and TV shows.

With more than 22 million registered users – some of whom pay for access to third-party OTT video services via Roku – the company contends the channel affords advertisers a built-in audience with measurable data and favorable demographics.

And Michael Pachter, media analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, agrees.

“We estimate that [average revenue-per-user] from The Roku Channel is the fastest growing contributor to overall revenue growth at Roku,” Pachter wrote in an Oct. 5 note.

The analyst expects the channel to be Roku’s highest revenue contributor by the end of 2019, and for it to continue to grow revenue as Roku migrates internationally.

Specifically, Roku will be able to increase revenue by charging advertisers more (CPMs) to target consumers – and installing the Roku app in third-party Internet-connected televisions, according to Pachter.

“Given all of the data Roku has on its audience and its ability to place finely targeted advertisements for its ad-partners, [the company] will be able to accelerate revenue growth,” he wrote.

Indeed, Pachter estimates The Roku Channel generated 1% of Roku’s total streaming hours in Q4 2017 after it launched. He expects that streaming time to increase to 20% by Q4 2020.

In the most-recent Q2 results, Roku said its branded channel was among the Top 5 used, generating $90.3 million in revenue. Total streaming hours (including third-party apps) increased 57% to 5.5 billion hours.

Pachter contends there are an average 1.5 ad impressions per hour with Roku stating CPMs in the $30 range.

“We expect average-revenue-per-user of [The Roku Channel] to reach $3.68 in 2018, $7.45 in 2019, and $11.28 in 2020,” he wrote.

Roku has recently expanded the reach of its branded channel to some newer Samsung TV models, as well as a standalone website. Roku has just begun to expand the channel internationally, beginning in Canada.

To help boost advertising partnerships, Roku in June launched “Roku Audience Marketplace,” which assists advertisers in targeting specific audience segments, utilizing Roku’s detailed household data.

“With more targeting capabilities, we expect Roku’s CPMs to rise,” wrote Pachter.