Ad-supported streamer Roku is moving further to replicate live TV by launching an on-screen channel guide and expanding its roster of curated networks in the US.
Roku, which launched AVOD service the Roku Channel in the UK last month, has rolled out channels covering an array of genres including lifestyle, kids, news and sports. Offerings include A+E Lively Place and Condé Nast Traveler on the lifestyle front, Kid Gamer TV from Studio71 for children, and movie options such as A+E-backed Crime360 and FilmRise Action.
News channels range from ABC News Live and Black News Channel to Cheddar and Reuters, while numerous sports options are available including Adventure Sports Network, beIN SPORTS Xtra and Outside TV.
Spanish-language options such as AFV Español, América TeVé and Love Nature Español will also come available via Roku Channel, which now claims to offer more than 100,000 movies and TV episodes on an ad-supported basis.
Programming from streamers such as Acorn TV and Starz also feature via the Roku Channel, which says it has more than 40 million users in the US. The company also struck a deal with DocuBay earlier this month and has said that viewing hours rose by 80% in April compared with the same time last year.
An EPG for an AVOD
The company has also created a ‘live TV channel guide’, similar to that employed by rival AVOD Pluto TV, which allows viewers to explore content across channels over the next 12 hours. “Now more than ever it’s important for our users to have easy access to free content, such as news, and the ability to find it quickly,” said Ashley Hovey, director of AVOD growth at Roku.
Hovey added that the guide would “bring more free content from The Roku Channel to the forefront” of its service.
Mark Garner, EVP of digital content licensing & business development at A+E Networks, said the expansion of his company’s interests on Roku would “extend our streaming footprint by creating new brands, like Lively Place and Crime360, with content that appeals to their unique and engaged customer base.
“As consumer options for content continue to expand, Roku has met audience demand by growing their platform in smart ways that make it easy for users to discover new content.”