Roku announced Tuesday that it is expanding its ad-supported Roku Channel movie and TV program service with a selection of news services from ABC News, Newsy, Cheddar and People TV.

The channel will provide live and linear feeds of news reports from each of the services on a 24-hour basis. Roku said news services have been among the most requested content additions since its over-the-top streaming devices added the ad-supported Roku Channel offering last fall.

The new services coming to The Roku channel include the following:

  • ABC News Live is network’s new 24/7 live streaming channel  giving users access to breaking news and live event coverage. It will utilize the extensive resources of ABC News and its people in the field to deliver news in a modern package to take viewers to news where its happening in the world.
  • Cheddar is a linear news offering featuring a selection of live and curated content from the network, which offers a unique approach to news in technology, media, and entertainment.
  • PeopleTV is the ad-supported streaming network helmed by People and Entertainment Weekly. Roku consumers will have unlimited, daily access to quality programming features original series and specials, which encompass celebrity, pop culture, lifestyle and human-interest genres.
  • Since launching last September, The Roku Channel has continued to expand the entertainment library with content from leading publishers including: FilmRise, Vidmark, Lionsgate, Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM), Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warner Bros. and others.

The Roku Channel has become a to 15-channel out of hundreds available on Roku devices and the No. 3 ad-supported channel on the platform.

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Roku said The Roku Channel enhancements are being offered along with the phased rollout of the latest version of the Roku operating system (8.1), starting in May.

New features in OS 8.1, such as “Collections,” let customers dive in deeper to explore content in curated thematic collections, and “Continue Watching,” which lets customers easily get back into content they’ve started watching. This is expected to further improve content discovery and accessibility by users.

“In the creation of The Roku Channel, we’ve put together a high added value for our customers. We developed the channel because the one point of friction we’d seen from our users was the need for an easier way to find and access ad-supported content,” Rob Holmes, Roku programming VP, told HD Guru. “Meanwhile, what we are also adding as part of the 8.1 OS release is a multi-cast option. So you can combine up to four remote controls and our app to have a private listening party, using earphones connected to each remote control or mobile device. This way multiple viewers can watch a movie with loud explosions together without waking the kids upstairs.”


By Greg Tarr


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