Roku to Offer Subscription Video Market Similar to Amazon’s

According to sources, Roku will debut a marketplace similar to Amazon Channels, allowing consumers to sign up for video subscription services without downloading separate apps on Roku devices. Roku already offers access to HBO Now, CBS All Access and other subscription services via its channel store, but, up until now, consumers have needed to download a dedicated app (which Roku calls a “channel”) onto their device and then sign up for the service. The new marketplace is expected to make it much easier to access such services.

Variety reports that, “the company has also been working on the next generation of its billing platform, dubbed Roku Pay, to make it easier for consumers to pay for these services,” also quite similar to Amazon Channels.


Available only to Prime members, Amazon Channels, which debuted in 2015, “offers consumers the ability to easily sign up for over 235 video subscription services directly from their Fire TV device.” When a Prime member does subscribe to paid channels, the content is presented “right next to Amazon’s Prime Video catalog.”

This approach “has led to Amazon becoming a major force in the à la carte subscription business,” with The Diffusion Group estimating that Amazon sells more than 50 percent of all online HBO subscriptions in the U.S. Smaller operators have added that “Channels has become a major part of their business.”

Bloomberg also reported that Apple is trying a similar approach, by reselling video subscriptions via its TV app. Its subscription marketplace, however, “reportedly won’t launch before 2019, whereas Roku is looking to debut its service soon.”

Roku’s business model is to grow its user base with “affordable streaming devices as well as partnerships with TV manufacturers,” and make its revenue with ads and services. In Q1 this year, for the first time in the company’s history, its revenue from ads and services surpassed hardware sales.

One of the company’s 10 most popular channels on its devices is its Roku Channel, “a free, ad-supported service that aggregates catalog titles from major Hollywood studios and other online content providers.” The paid subscription services will either be integrated into Roku Channel or a separate channel.

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