Roku executive: Cable operators want Roku's help

HOLLYWOOD--Cable operators are "coming out of the woodwork" to ask Roku for help figuring out how to incorporate online video apps into their own traditional service offerings, Steve Shannon, general manager of content and services for Roku, said at BroadbandTVCon in Hollywood Tuesday.

Shannon was asked about Netflix's (Nasdaq: NFLX) strategy of seeking distribution through cable operator-leased set-top boxes. "We'd like to see that, actually. It's counterintuitive because, say, people buy our box because of Netflix," Shannon said, adding that when Roku launched, Netflix was the only streaming video app available on the device.

"If all you needed was Netflix to compete with us, we would have been dead a long time ago," he said. Cable operators know they "can't just add Netflix and Hulu and be done. They need and ecosystem and and app store environment," which Roku has, he said.

Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) has an app on Roku that the cable operator has been very happy with, Shannon said. Overall, cable subscribers make up a big portion of Roku's customer base, he added.

One app notably absent from Roku is YouTube. Shannon said the companies are constantly working to try to sort that out. "I'm hopeful, but no guarantees," he said.

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