The Roku Channel continues to expand beyond ad-supported movies and premium subscriptions with today’s announcement of the addition of several more live TV channels available to anyone with a Roku streaming device or Roku TV. The company says today it’s adding five free live TV channels to this offering, including, most notably, fubo’s Sports Network.
The fubo Sports Network is streaming service fuboTV’s first-ever TV channel designed for distribution outside its own platform.
Soft-launched this June, fubo produces content for the channel, including original programming, event coverage, behind-the-scenes and other exclusives. The network is already available to a few streaming platforms, including XUMO, Samsung TV Plus and LG Channels (powered by XUMO).
However, distribution to Roku’s popular entertainment hub is a big win for the new channel, given that Roku is now the top streaming device platform in the U.S., with a 39% share of streaming boxes and sticks and a 33% share of smart TV operating systems.
Other new networks arriving to The Roku Channel today include the ACC Digital Network, USA Today, Now This (news) and Comedy Dynamics.
In addition, The Roku Channel now offers the Sports Illustrated streaming service, SI TV, to any interested subscribers through its Premium Subscription lineup.
Roku has been rapidly expanding its Roku Channel hub since it first launched in September 2017 with a focus on free, ad-supported movies — similar to Vudu’s “Movies on Us” or Tubi, for example. But shortly after, the channel began to roll out more content like news, sports, TV shows and other entertainment offerings both from traditional studios and digital networks. This pushed the channel to become one of the most-watched on its platform.
And this year, Roku launched its own premium subscriptions alongside its free content, allowing The Roku Channel to become not just the place to find free entertainment, but where you tune in to your favorite shows as well. Today, its paid lineup includes top premium networks like HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Starz, EPIX and many others.
The decision to invest in its own content hub gives Roku a powerful selling point for its devices — and that appears to be paying off with consumers and in terms of the company’s bottom line.
Roku recently closed out its second quarter with 30.5 million active accounts, up by 1.4 million from the prior quarter, and average revenue per user up from $19.06 in Q1 to $21.06 in Q2. Revenue was also up 59% YoY to $250.1 million.