Roku offers free episodes from Showtime and other premium subscriptions

Roku has 30.5 million active accounts. (Roku)

Roku’s new plan to get more of its user base on premium subscription add-ons involves giving viewers a small taste of what they’re missing.

The company is now offering a few free episodes of original series from subscription streaming services, including Showtime, Epix, History Vault, Dove Channel and Acorn TV. Episodes of series like “Becoming a God in Central Florida” and “Godfather of Harlem” can be viewed without signing up or starting a free trial.

Roku has also enabled one-click sign up for premium subscriptions, which allows users to subscribe to services, as well as manage and consolidate billing for their different subscription services.

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The Roku Channel, which provides access to free, ad-supported streaming content and subscription services within a single user interface, is facing increasing competition. Comcast’s similar platform, Xfinity Flex, recently reduced its monthly price from $5 to free for the company’s internet-only customers. Both Amazon Prime Video Channels and Apple TV+ Channels offer similar streaming video aggregation services and soon TiVo will have something similar with TiVo+.

Roku earlier this year launched premium subscriptions within the Roku Channel with more than 25 partners. The program now includes more than 40 partners.

The revenue sharing from those agreements, along with advertising revenue from the Roku Channel has helped boost the company’s average revenue per user. In August, the company said ARPU had surpassed $20 to reach $21.06, up 27% from $16.60 from the year prior.

Roku also said its 30.5 million total active accounts were up 39% year over year from the 22 million the company counted during the year prior. Roku gave credit to its smart TV OS platform for helping grow the company’s active user base.

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