Roku adds coding-free channel creation to its developer toolkit

XLTV's channel created with Roku Direct Publisher. Image: Roku

Roku, which has always made it relatively simple for OTT video providers to launch a streaming channel on its devices, is making it even simpler with the introduction of Direct Publisher. The feed-based creation tool allows content publishers to set up a channel with no coding or programming required, and at no cost.

“Anyone with an MRSS or JSON feed can quickly and easily create a channel,” Roku notes on its Direct Publisher page. The device maker said that setting up a Direct Publisher channel takes as little as 10 minutes.

Publishers will need to host their videos somewhere, but once that’s in place they can set up a channel that’s customizable, using tags and playlists to organize content. The providers can also add their brand logo, assets and colors to the channel.

In addition to handling channel maintenance, Roku includes an analytics dashboard and has enabled an ad-based monetization feature – no word yet on whether subscription-based monetization will be added in the future. Publishers can either have Roku serve the ads, or choose their own ad servers.

“Building streaming applications typically involves significant time, development resources and costs in order for publishers to reach and engage TV viewers effectively. With the launch of Roku Direct Publisher, we are empowering content owners to be able to get on the Roku platform quickly, develop an audience and drive monetization,” said Bill Shapiro, director of product management for the Roku OS, in a media statement. “It’s a great solution for content owners and will also result in a lot of new and interesting channels for viewers.”

What’s great for publishers is that the new service is supported by several other third-party online video platform providers such as JW Player, Ooyala and Brightcove, so that publishers whose content streams through one of these services can quickly set up a Roku channel and boost their potential audience.

Combining their primary platform with another simplified distribution path such as Roku’s latest offering could increase revenue for providers large and small.

Fast OTT video publishing and wide reach are top strategies right now for online video platform providers. JW Player, for example, launched an app creation product that allows publishers to build an iOS and Android-ready app in hours rather than weeks. Ooyala launched its own turnkey app platform not long afterward.

Publishers are also able to boost their reach through Amazon’s Video Direct program, which enables them to stream their content either as ad-supported video, as an add-on subscription through Streaming Partners, or directly to Prime subscribers.

For more:
- see this engadget article
- see the release
- see the Direct Publisher page

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