As Roku grows, it’s moving towards pay-to-play for successful channels


With 1,800 channels and growing, Roku is easily the largest TV app publishing platform. The company’s set-top boxes have long been embraced by both industry heavyweights like Netflix and small rural churches alike, all looking to reach an audience without the need to strike deals with cable companies. But as Roku’s audience is growing to 10 million-plus devices sold in the U.S. alone, the company is increasingly looking to strike commercial deals of its own, which can catch some publishers by surprise.

I’ve had conversations with a number of publishers who have channels on [company]Roku[/company] recently, all of whom declined to go on the record because of their existing business relationship with the company. They all had been approached by Roku to strike a commercial deal in recent months, and not everyone saw this coming. “They called out of the blue,” said one publisher, and I’ve been told…

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