Roku is launching the Roku Channel, its ad-supported streaming service and subscription video platform, in the U.K. with an assist from Sky.
The service will offer free access to more than 10,000 movies, TV episodes and documentaries on Roku streaming devices, Roku TV, Now TV devices and the Sky Q set-top box. In the U.K., it will include British TV series including “Homes Under the Hammer,” “The Commander,” “Ultimate Force,” “Fifth Gear,” “Skins” and “Britain’s Best Bakery” along with a kid’s programming section.
The U.K. Roku Channel features more 40 content partners including All3Media International, EndemolShine Group, FilmRise, pocket.watch, DRG, Lionsgate and Sony Pictures Television.
The app will include features like personalized recommendations and in-channel search capabilities on Roku and Now TV devices.
“With The Roku Channel we are making it easy for consumers to find great free entertainment and provide additional value to Roku users, NOW TV device holders and Sky Q customers,” said Rob Holmes, vice president of programming at Roku, in a statement. “Ad-supported viewing is one of the fastest growing categories on our platform and we are excited to meet the consumer demand for free TV.”
In addition to offering ad-supported streaming, the Roku Channel is a unified platform for subscription video services in the U.S. In early 2019, the service began selling premium video services including Showtime, Starz, Epix, Smithsonian Channel Plus, CuriosityStream and Tastemade. Since then the Roku Channel expanded its premium service offering to include HBO, Cinemax and more.
Roku first launched the Roku Channel in the U.S. in 2017. Interest in the AVOD sector among consumers and media conglomerates has risen significantly since then. Viacom (now ViacomCBS) bought Pluto TV in early 2019, Comcast bought Xumo in February and Fox bought Tubi last month.