Roku today announced that it has officially acquired the distribution rights for content from Quibi, the now-defunct streaming service that attempted to put high-powered short-form content on mobile devices. The content will be available on The Roku Channel — Roku's ad-supported channel that is available on Roku players and Roku TVs.
Quibi was a short-lived service that packed a lot of Hollywood power — and was backed by a lot of money. But it was an answer in search of a problem and never got any real traction beyond press releases.
Roku, meanwhile, remains the No. 1 streaming platform in the United States, and the second largest in the rest of the world. It also has the No. 1 operating system on smart TVs. So the eyeballs are there, and The Roku Channel — and the ads Roku presents on it — is a major part of Roku's strategy.
“The Roku Channel is one of the largest and fastest growing channels on our platform today and we are consistently expanding the breadth and quality of our free, ad-supported content for our users,” Rob Holmes, Vice President of Programming at Roku, said in a press release. “Today’s announcement marks a rare opportunity to acquire compelling new original programming that features some of the biggest names in entertainment. We’re excited to make this content available for free to our users in The Roku Channel through an ad-supported model. We are also thrilled to welcome the incredible studios and talented individuals who brought these stories to life and showcase them to our tens of millions of viewers.”
While it's probably not likely that Quibi was born with the intention of shutting it down and seeing the content acquired (and it's almost certain that Roku got the content for a steal; terms weren't disclosed), it's better than just letting that content linger.
“The most creative and imaginative minds in Hollywood created groundbreaking content for Quibi that exceeded our expectations,” Quibi Founder Jeffrey Katzenberg said in the press release. “We are thrilled that these stories, from the surreal to the sublime, have found a new home on The Roku Channel.”
The Roku Channel is available in the sidebar menu of all Roku devices, and also as a standalone app on Amazon Fire TV.
Phil spent his 20s in the newsroom of the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, his 30s on the road for AndroidCentral.com and Mobile Nations and is the Dad part of Modern Dad.
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