×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Roku Plans to Launch Amazon Channels-Like Video Subscription Marketplace (EXCLUSIVE)

Roku plans to launch a marketplace for video subscription services in the coming months, which will allow consumers to sign up for and watch subscription services without the need to download separate apps on Roku devices, Variety has learned from multiple sources familiar with the company’s plans. The marketplace is said to be similar to Amazon Channels, a popular à la carte offering available on Fire TV devices.

A Roku spokesperson declined to comment.

Roku has long offered access to subscription services like HBO Now and CBS All Access via its channel store. Consumers who want to access any of these services need to download a dedicated app, also called channel in Roku’s vernacular, onto their streaming device, and then sign up for the service either through their TV or through the service provider’s website.

In the future, Roku plans to bring together a number of these paid services in the same channel, making it easier to subscribe to, and then access any premium content, without the need to download and launch different apps. The company has also been working on the next generation of its billing platform, dubbed Roku Pay, to make it easier for consumers to pay for these services.

This approach closely mimics Amazon Channels, a subscription video marketplace launched by the e-commerce giant in late 2015. Offered exclusively to Prime members, Amazon Channels offers consumers the ability to easily sign up for over 235 video subscription services directly from their Fire TV device. Once a consumer signs up for any of these paid channels, its content is not presented in a separate app, but right next to Amazon’s Prime Video catalog.

The simplicity of Channels has led to Amazon becoming a major force in the à la carte subscription business: The Diffusion Group estimated recently that Amazon is selling more than 50% of all online HBO subscriptions in the U.S., far surpassing resellers like Apple and Google. Operators of smaller services have also told Variety in the past that Channels has become a major part of their business.

Roku isn’t the only one taking a cue from Amazon: Bloomberg reported last month that Apple is looking to resell video subscriptions via its TV app, which is available on Apple TV and mobile devices. However, Apple’s subscription marketplace reportedly won’t launch before 2019, whereas Roku is looking to debut its service soon.

Roku’s business model has long been about growing its audience with affordable streaming devices as well as partnerships with TV manufacturers, and then monetizing that audience through ads and services. The company does have some revenue share agreements with paid streaming services in place, but its biggest revenue contributor has been advertising. Revenue from ads and services surpassed Roku’s hardware revenue for the first time in the company’s history in Q1 of this year.

One of the ways the company has grown its ad revenue has been the Roku channel, a free, ad-supported service that aggregates catalog titles from major Hollywood studios and other online content providers. In April, Roku added news from ABC, Cheddar, and others to the Roku Channel, which has since become one of the 10 most popular channels on the company’s devices. At this point, it’s unclear whether paid subscription services would also be directly integrated into the Roku Channel, or launch within a separate channel.

More Digital

  • Verizon New Logo

    Verizon Media Laying Off 800 Employees, or 7% of Staff in AOL and Yahoo Group

    Verizon is cutting 7% of the employees in its media group, or around 800 staffers in the division that combined AOL and Yahoo. “This week, we will make changes that will impact around 7% of our global workforce across the organization, as well as certain brands and products,” Verizon Media Group CEO Guru Gowrappan wrote in [...]

  • cheddar

    Cheddar Now on All U.S. OTT Streaming Services, Preps Primetime Programming Block

    Video-news startup Cheddar is launching its live-streaming news networks on Sony’s PlayStation Vue, making it the first content provider to span all over-the-top subscription services in the U.S. The company, founded in 2016, operates two networks — the newly rebranded Cheddar Business, positioned as a CNBC-style financial and business network for millennials, and Cheddar News, [...]

  • Avi Saxena - Discovery

    Discovery Hires Amazon's Avi Saxena as CTO of Direct-to-Consumer Unit, Will Open Seattle Office

    Discovery hired Avi Saxena, former VP of technology for Amazon Marketplace, as chief technology officer of direct-to-consumer. Saxena reports to the guy who was his boss at Amazon: Peter Faricy, who was appointed CEO of Discovery’s Global Direct-to-Consumer division in August 2018 and who headed up the Amazon Marketplace third-party seller business. In the newly created [...]

  • Spaces Terminatro VR Experience Goes Live

    Comcast-Backed Spaces Launches San Jose Location With 'Terminator' VR Experience

    Comcast-backed virtual reality startup Spaces is getting ready to open its second California location in San Jose next month: The company has teamed up with Cinemark to open a new VR center at the Century 20 Oakridge and XD theatre in San Jose on February 8. The new Cinemark Spaces center will open with “Fight for [...]

  • Sean Hannity Reveals Broadband Plans for

    Sean Hannity Reveals His Plans for Fox News Streaming Service (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sean Hannity sometimes tells younger colleagues at Fox News Channel that he is “the bridge between two generations of Fox” because he has been part of its primetime lineup since 1996. Now he may serve a similar purpose for a third. Fox News will next week bring Hannity to the world of video-streaming, launching “Hannity [...]

  • Crackle - To Win it All

    Sony Crackle Nabs 'Rainbow Six Siege' Esports Documentary Streaming Rights

    Sony Crackle has secured exclusive streaming rights to Ubisoft’s esports documentary “To Win it All: The Road to The Six Invitational,” following three pro players of “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege” shooter as they head to the title’s biggest tournament of the year. The free streaming network is slated to bow the documentary Friday, Jan. [...]

  • Hulu With Live TV Full Channel

    Hulu Hikes Price of Live-TV Bundle to $45 Monthly, Drops VOD Plan With Ads to $6

    Hulu wants to drive more customers to its ad-supported streaming package — lowering the official price from $7.99 to $5.99 per month — while it’s trying to turn a profit on the live-TV bundle with a price hike. Starting next month, Hulu With Live TV will increase by $5 per month, rising from $39.99 to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content