Roku Channel Adds Premium Subscriptions

Posted on January 29, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Music + Videos with 11 Comments

Striking ahead of Apple’s widely-expected video service, Roku has added premium subscriptions to its own Roku Channel service.

“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,” Roku Vice President Rob Holmes says. “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.”

Roku is best-known, of course, for its streaming video set-top boxes and, more recently, a growing selection of Roku-powered smart TVs. But the Roku Channel is the firm’s attempt to expand its market to include content. So it competes, in many ways, with the other services that you’ll find on Roku devices, like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, and many others.

To date, the Roku Channel has offered over 10,000 free and ad-supported video services. But with this week’s expansion, it becomes a more full-featured offering where users can browse, trial, and subscribe to paid services like EPIX, Showtime, Starz, and other less well-known offerings. Roku says that 25 premium subscriptions are available immediately.

Premium subscriptions are rolling out in phases across modern Roku devices (model number 2450 and higher) and smart TVs, the web, and on iPhone and iPad. Android device support is coming in early February.

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