Roku has built a ubiquitous streaming platform that stretches across connected TV devices and smart TVs. Now the company may be shifting its attention toward content.
According to CNBC, Roku plans to spend more than $1 billion on content in 2022. That’s still well behind the $17 billion that streaming giant Netflix intends to spend this year but it demonstrates how serious Roku is in building the audience for the Roku Channel, its free, ad-supported streaming service.
Roku CEO Anthony Wood declined to confirm his company’s projected content budget but did tell the publication that his company’s content spending will keep going up on an annual basis. He said that Roku’s content spending isn’t about competing with Netflix and other SVOD players, but rather it’s about driving more advertising interest and revenue.
“We have less expensive content than a subscription service because it’s not required for us to be successful,” Wood told CNBC. “For us, it’s about helping users discover content that appeals to them.”
Roku last month announced its first-ever pay-one streaming rights deal with Saban Films. The agreement means that certain Saban 2021 films will stream exclusively on the Roku Channel in the U.S. and Canada after their theatrical and home entertainment releases.
That deal followed Roku’s acquisition of the content slate from Quibi, the short-form streaming service that launches and shut down in 2020. Those series and films—which the company renamed Roku Originals—have seemingly become a hit for the Roku Channel, which now reaches U.S. households with an estimated 70 million people.
Last week, Roku revealed that, in the two weeks following the launch of Roku Originals, May 20 to June 3, a record number of unique accounts streamed The Roku Channel. The top ten most watched programs on The Roku Channel were all Roku Originals during the same two-week period.
Roku expects to release an additional 45 Roku Originals this year to complement The Roku Channel’s library of more than 40,000 free movies and television programs and more than 190 live linear channels.