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Streaming video platform Roku is expanding its content push into feature films.
The company says that it has signed an exclusive pay-one window deal with Saban Films, covering much of the studio’s 2021 slate. The deal is the first exclusive feature window deal that Roku has signed, with the Saban films set to be available for free on The Roku Channel.
The deal includes films like Echo Boomers, starring Michael Shannon and Patrick Schwarzenegger, which will be available June 15. Future film debuts include Happily, starring Joel McHale and Kerry Bishé; Percy vs. Goliath (U.S. Only), starring winner Christopher Walken, Christina Ricci and Zach Braff; and Under the Stadium Lights starring Laurence Fishburne and Milo Gibson.
“We think [the Saban deal] continues to elevate the quality of content, and the value of the content that we are bringing our users for free, which we think positions The Roku Channel to the forefront of this free streaming space, which has been growing so rapidly,” Rob Holmes, vp programming for Roku, tells The Hollywood Reporter.
Under the terms of the deal, the Saban films will be available on Roku three months after their debut in theaters.
“It’s as early as you can get in the typical licensing run of a film,” Holmes says. “They will see it in theaters, and three months later it will be available on Roku Channel — that is really compelling.”
While Roku launched as a platform for other content providers to reach consumers through the company’s streaming boxes and dongles, it has since expanded into content itself through its Roku Channel. Roku Channel includes both non-exclusive licensed fare, as well as more recently exclusive content.
Roku acquired Quibi’s library of content earlier this year and rebranded the shows as Roku Originals, and also acquired This Old House.
Holmes says that the feature films will be a “great way to drive initial audience” to Roku Channel, complementing programming like This Old House.
Like all Roku Channel content, the films will be ad-supported, with Roku seeking to find natural ad breaks in the films.
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