Next TV SF: Roku Targets TV’s ‘Renaissance’ - Broadcasting & Cable

Next TV SF: Roku Targets TV’s ‘Renaissance’

Streaming platform being embraced by new OTT entrants as well as traditional programmers, MVPDs
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San Francisco – If, in Roku’s view, all TV will indeed be streamed, then it follows that the group embracing this idea is not just limited to new and growing over-the-top entrants but also inclusive of traditional programmers and pay TV operators.

“There’s just a renaissance of TV,” Matthew Anderson, Roku’s chief marketing officer, said Wednesday during a keynote chat at the Next TV Summit & Expo hosted by Next TV parent magazines Multichannel News and Broadcasting & Cable

Roku, which recently crossed 10 million active monthly users, is tackling that broad sector via a business that relies on device sales, platform licensing to TV makers and other CE companies, its MVPD-focused Roku Powered program, as well as advertising.

While programmers have developed TV Everywhere apps and direct-to-consumer subscription options, cable operators such as Charter Communications are using Roku to deliver new types of slimmed down bundles to reach different customer segments.

Programmers, he noted, “are really becoming consumer marketers and audience builders directly themselves.”

He also reiterated that Roku has no plans to develop its own content services, viewing this is a way to differentiate against streaming rivals such as Google (Android TV and Chromecast), Amazon (Fire TV) and Apple TV.

A big contributor to Roku’s success, Anderson said, “is that we’re agnostic about any specific content partner on the service. Our major competitors own their own content stack, basically, and they do orient their user experience toward favoring that stack." 

While some consumers love Google Play, others want Amazon Prime Video, or Vudu or iTunes.

“What we want to do is to be like Switzerland in this mix and offer as much choice as possible and have the best content offering, and then give tools so you can watch what you want on the terms that you want to pay for," he said. 

And Roku is trying to achieve that in part through an integrated search platform that now sources from about 30 partners, telling viewers first if a title is offered for free, on subscription or for purchase, with an ascending order of price.

Another is the Roku Feed and a “follow” feature that notifies users when a show or movie is available to stream.

“Participating in these features will help your content get discovered” and perhaps lead to the installation of the provider’s app, he said. 

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