You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Roku Launches Premium Video Subscriptions to Showtime, Starz, Epix and More

Taking a page out of Amazon’s playbook, Roku is launching premium subscriptions on the Roku Channel starting Monday — promising to be another valuable revenue stream for the streaming-video platform company.

As part of a launch promo, Roku users who sign up for Showtime, Starz or Epix before March 31, 2019, will be eligible to receive a 30-day free trial of those services on the Roku Channel. HBO is conspicuously absent from the list, although Roku says it’s continuing to talk to additional partners.

Variety was first to report last summer that Roku was planning to resell video-subscription services through its platform. The offer is similar to Amazon’s existing Amazon Channels marketplace, which generated an estimated $1.7 billion in 2018. Terms of Roku’s distribution arrangement with the premium channels aren’t being disclosed, but the company is likely receiving some share of subscription fees and/or a bounty for new subscriber signups.

Initially, about 25 premium services will be available to access on Roku players in the U.S.; Roku TV models are slated to be upgraded to support the subscription services “in the coming weeks.” Customers can view premium subscriptions on the Roku Channel via the Web (at therokuchannel.com). In addition, viewing of the Roku Channel directly from within the Roku’s mobile app for Apple’s iOS devices is available starting Monday (Jan. 28), with an update for Roku’s Android apps slated to begin rolling in mid-February.

Users can access around 25 premium services including Starz, Showtime, and Epix, as well as more niche-oriented ones Baeble Music; CollegeHumor’s Dropout; CuriosityStream; Fandor Spotlight; FitFusion; The Great Courses Signature Collection; Grokker; Hi-Yah!; Hopster; Lifetime Movie Club; DOX, LOLFlicks, Monsters and Nightmares, Magnolia Selects, and Warriors & Gangsters presented by Magnolia Pictures; MHz Choice; Noggin; Shout! Factory TV, Smithsonian Channel Plus; Stingray Karaoke; Tastemade; Viewster Anime; and ZooMoo.

Roku first launched the Roku Channel as a free, ad-supported streaming service on its devices in September 2017 and currently provides users access to more than 10,000 free, ad-supported movies and TV episodes. The company continued to add new content, including live news and sports, over the past few months and also launched it on the web and on Samsung’s smart TVs (however, premium subscriptions are not available via Samsung TVs).

More TV

  • Rich Battista

    Imagine Entertainment CEO Rich Battista Exits After Less Than Four Months

    Rich Battista, the recently boarded chief executive of Imagine Entertainment, has exited his post at the production company after joining but a few months ago in August, Variety has learned. “Rich Battista has left Imagine Entertainment,” said Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, the founders of the company, in a joint statement. “We thank Rich for [...]

  • Lamia Chraïbi Teams With Hicham Lasri

    Lamia Chraibi Teams With Hicham Lasri on Pan-Arab Supernatural Series 'Meskoun' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Lamia Chraibi, a leading producer of daring films from the Middle East and North Africa region, is developing “Meskoun,” an ambitious pan-Arab genre-bending series with Moroccan filmmaker Hicham Lasri (“Jahilya”) on board as showrunner. Chraibi (“Mimosas”) will produce the 14-episode series with her Moroccan banner La Prod, along with Mohamed Hefzy’s Egyptian company Film Clinic, [...]

  • Kevin CostnerKevin Costner, who stars in

    Kevin Costner Sets National Parks Investigative Services Branch Drama at ABC

    “Yellowstone” star Kevin Costner is expanding his television universe to include a whole lot more national parks. Variety has learned that the Oscar winner has set up a one-hour drama project at ABC about the Investigative Services Branch of the National Parks Service. Costner is co-writing the series with showrunner Aaron Helbing and will also [...]

  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

    'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Team On A 'Brand New Chapter' In Season 3

    If Midge Maisel wants to be successful as a standup comedian, her portrayer Rachel Brosnahan says, “she’s going to have to give up her personal life. She’s going to have to go at it alone.” The second season of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” ended with Brosnahan’s 1950s housewife-turned-comic, character getting the opportunity of a lifetime [...]

  • Shameless Season 9 BoJack Horseman Season

    TV Shows We Quit in 2019

    It’s official: with the amount of scripted series alone hitting the 500 mark and refusing to stop there, there is just too much content available to keep up with all of it. But although the quantity of series offered continues to grow, that does not automatically mean the quality increases as well. As such, no [...]

  • Peter Segal

    Peter Segal to Direct Stephen Amell's Pro Wrestling Drama 'Heels' at Starz (EXCLUSIVE)

    Peter Segal will direct and executive produce Stephen Amell’s upcoming Starz series “Heels,” Variety has learned exclusively. The eight-episode drama, which hails from Lionsgate Television in association with Paramount Television Studios, stars Amell and Alexander Ludwig as brothers Jack and Ace Spade. Set in a close-knit Georgia community, it follows a family-owned wrestling league as the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content