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Roku plans to continue investing in original content, but don’t expect it to compete with Netflix or Disney.
“As the scale grows, it just makes sense for us … to do some originals, and to start making some of our own content,” Roku CEO Anthony Wood said Friday. “The reason we do it is quite different than a traditional SVOD service. For those services customers pay a monthly fee, and they have to convince a customer to sign up, which is quite hard.”
“It doesn’t take nearly as much to convince someone to watch a free movie or TV show, so for us it is more of a buy vs. build, in some cases it just makes more sense to do it ourselves,” he added. “We are looking for shows that work well with the AVOD business model.”
Wood was interviewed as part of the Tribeca X conference in New York City, which itself is part of the 2021 Tribeca Festival. Interviewed by Entertainment Weekly editor-in-chief Mary Margaret, Wood also explained the company’s acquisition of Quibi’s content library, which have since been rebranded as Roku Originals.
“To be honest we just got a good deal,” Wood said. “It was great content, high production value at a price that was quite reasonable.”
And the company says the purchase was a successful one. Roku says more people streamed a Roku Original in the first two weeks on the platform than the number of Quibi accounts streamed the content in the lifetime of that service. Roku did not give any specific numbers or figures, but said that the originals launch led to a record number of accounts viewing Roku Channel, and that the top 10 most-watched shows on Roku Channel were all Roku Originals.
Wood says the investment is ultimately about capturing a piece of TV advertising as all of TV shifts to streaming.
“The reason advertisers like advertising on TV is because you have a captive audience,” Wood says, noting the high-definition, high quality experience. “It is just a great medium.”
Ultimately, Wood says, “I think by the end of the decade, everyone is going to be watching TV via streaming,” adding that only a few platforms will be able to survive as the gateway between content and consumer. “It is an awesome opportunity to innovate and improve television.”
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