Roku said Wednesday that it is expanding The Roku Channel app available through Roku TVs, Roku devices and partner devices to include “Premium Subscriptions” that will let users watch paid premium entertainment programming along with free ad-supported content through one user interface.

At the same time, the easy-to-use Roku Channel interface will enable enhanced personalized recommendations, where users can browse, try out and subscribe to the new premium services. Additionally, users will have the ability to integrate subscription fees through a single billing solution.

Roku also announced that The Roku Channel app will soon become available to iOS and Android mobile devices for the first time, making popular The Roku Channel Mobile App available on Android and iOS smartphones and tablets.

While The Roku Channel will continue to offer more than 10,000 free ad-supported movies and television programs, the new premium offering will add the option of adding premium programming subscriptions from more than 25 service partners including such major networks as Showtime, Starz and Epix.

Roku said users will be able to discover new services from these premium subscription partners, browse their entire catalogs and then sign-up for at least a seven-day-free trial using an existing Roku account. The Premium Subscriptions will be viewable only within The Roku Channel app.

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Roku is also adding within its app expanded program search functionality. Users will be able to easily search for keywords within the channel, the company said. There, The Roku Channel will simplify the subscription streaming search process by offering one destination to watch premium entertainment from more than 25 providers, while paying a single monthly bill for all and having the simple account management.

“We’re focused on making it easy to find great entertainment of all types on the platform and adding Premium Subscriptions is a natural evolution for The Roku Channel,” stated Rob Holmes, Roku programming and engagement VP. “As a top five channel by active account reach, The Roku Channel is already a great source for free, ad-supported entertainment and provides significant user engagement. By making it easy for users to discover, subscribe to and watch Premium Subscriptions, we believe this offering will result in increased subscriptions and user engagement for our subscription partners and an even better user experience.”

A One-Stop Shop for Favorite Free and Premium TV Premium Subscriptions feature will offer “one-click” sign up and easy subscription management, the company said. Free, live and subscription content will be presented together in The Roku Channel, making it simple to browse, subscribe to and watch a wide variety of streaming entertainment.

Roku said the Premium Subscription partners at launch will include: Showtime, Starz, Epix, Baeble Music, College Humor’s DROPOUT, Curiosity Stream, FitFusion, The Great Courses Signature Collection, Hopster, Magnolia Selects presented by Magnolia Pictures, MHz Choice, Noggin, Smithsonian Channel Plus, Tastemade, Viewster Anime and others.

With one-click subscriptions customers will be able to start a free trial or subscribe to new Premium Subscriptions with one click using their existing Roku account information once they visit the subscription page.

With free trials all premium content can be sampled for a period of up to seven days. Trial reminders will be sent before each free trial expires and billing starts.

Single bill subscriptions will be managed directly from Through it, customers will receive one monthly bill for all premium subscriptions.

With new mobile viewing, The Roku Channel mobile app will soon enable mobile users to watch content from The Roku Channel. For the first time, users with iOS and Android devices will be able to use the Roku mobile app without a Roku device, enabling them to watch The Roku Channel anytime, anywhere in the United States.

Roku said users will be able to start a video on a Roku player or Roku TV and pick up from where they left off while on the go.

Roku said availability of premium subscriptions and search capabilities on The Roku Channel will begin on select Roku devices in late January, with a phased rollout planned for early 2019. The Roku mobile app update will also begin rolling out to iOS and Android devices in late January.


By Greg Tarr


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