Roku follows Amazon’s lead with Premium Subscriptions
James R | On 03, Jan 2019
Roku is following in Amazon’s footsteps with the addition of Premium Subscriptions to its Roku Channel. In a competitive marketplace where rivalry between individual streaming services is fierce, Amazon took a big step in 2016 with the launch of Prime Video Channels, a platform to host other subscription services so that customers can sign up to a pick-and-mix bundle of premium content all in one place. Now, Roku, whose own interface has also become a major platform for differing apps to exist on devices and smart TVs, is launching its own equivalent, adding Premium Subscriptions to its Roku Channel.
The Roku Channel is Roku’s home to free, ad-supported content, including movies and news. Now, users will be able to watch both free ad-supported and paid premium entertainment through the one interface, where they can browse, trial and subscribe to popular services.
In addition to 10,000+ free ad-supported movies and TV episodes already available, The Roku Channel will soon offer users the option to add 25+ Premium Subscriptions from providers such as SHOWTIME, Starz and EPIX. Users will be able to discover new services from Premium Subscriptions partners, browse their entire catalogs and then sign-up for at least a seven-day free trial using their existing Roku account information. Premium Subscriptions are only viewable within The Roku Channel. Additionally, search within The Roku Channel will be expanded, allowing users to easily search for keywords, while subscriptions will all be part of a single monthly bill from Roku. All premium content can be trialled for at least seven days for free. A reminder will be sent before each free trial expires and billing starts.
“We’re focused on making it easy to find great entertainment of all types on the platform and adding Premium Subscriptions is a natural evolution for The Roku Channel,” says Rob Holmes, Vice President, Programming and Engagement, Roku. “As a top five channel by active account reach, The Roku Channel is already a great source for free, ad-supported entertainment and provides significant user engagement. By making it easy for users to discover, subscribe to and watch Premium Subscriptions, we believe this offering will result in increased subscriptions and user engagement for our subscription partners and an even better user experience.”
The Roku mobile app will also soon enable users to watch content from The Roku Channel. For the first time, users with iOS and Android devices will be able to use the Roku mobile app without a Roku device, enabling them to watch The Roku Channel anytime, anywhere in the United States. Users will be able to start a video on a Roku player or Roku TV and pick up from where they left off while on the go.
Premium Subscriptions and search capabitlities on The Roku Channel will begin rolling out to select Roku devices in late January, with a phased rollout planned for early 2019. This will currently only be available for users in the USA, but the move gives an interesting indication of the direction players in the VOD arena are taking as the streaming industry matures.