August 10, 2021
On August 13, Roku will debut 23 new Roku Originals, acquired from Quibi’s library, which will have an exclusive, ad-free run on the Roku Channel. Roku premiered 30 Quibi shorts in May. Among the new series are “Mapleworth Murders,” a “Murder She Wrote” spoof that earned three 2021 Emmy acting nominations. Roku head of original scripted programming Colin Davis, previously a Quibi exec, noted that, “the investment in Roku Originals is already paying dividends.” Roku has “about two dozen” more Quibi shows to roll out this year.
Variety reports that Roku head of alternative programming Brian Tannenbaum, another former Quibi exec, said that viewers’ response to the Roku Originals “has been overwhelming.” According to Roku, in Q2 2021, the channel “saw streaming hours more than double … while overall usage on the Roku platform rose 19 percent year over year but dropped by 1 billion hours sequentially.”
The company also stated that, “Roku Originals accounted for the five most-streamed TV programs on the Roku Channel from May 20-July 18 by Roku active accounts.” Nielsen reported that, “the Roku Channel ranked as the No. 6 streaming channel by household reach in the U.S. for the month of June, coming in after Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Disney+.”
Other unreleased Quibi titles to debut this month include “Eye Candy,” a game show hosted by Josh Groban; cleaning competition “Squeaky Clean” hosted by Leslie Jordan; Season 2 of money-giveaway reality show “Thanks a Million” from executive producer Jennifer Lopez with guests such as Matthew McConaughey, Chris Rock and Vanessa Hudgens; and docuseries “What Happens in Hollywood,” directed by Marina Zenovich.
CNBC reports that, “in January, Roku said it acquired the rights to more than 75 shows from Quibi.” The shows released this month will stream in the U.S., Canada and the UK. The company, which licenses content from other media companies, acquired “This Old House” earlier this year.
Last week, “Needham analysts said in a note … that Roku’s content goal is to maintain an ad-supported video-on-demand business model without negatively impacting gross margins from content creation.”
The Roku Channel “continues to broaden its reach by growing niches,” wrote the analysts. “Total streaming hours doubled at [The Roku Channel] in 2Q21, driven by its flywheel of creating new Roku originals, which leads to more viewing hours, which attracts new advertisers, which drives higher ad revs, which Roku invests into new original content, etc.”
Evercore ISI analysts said “they expect Roku to continue to be opportunistic in buying content to capture more connected TV ad budgets … but … also believe these investments should serve as a strong moat of product differentiation that may well lead to superior pricing power for Roku over time.”