Roku is adding a new annex to its original content strategy: The streaming platform has acquired This Old House Ventures, the company behind the 42-year-old home improvement TV brand.
With the pact, the current seasons of “This Old House” (Season 42) and “Ask This Old House” (Season 19) will be available for free on the Roku Channel as episodes on demand. New episodes will arrive on the platform after they air on local PBS stations.
Roku acquires all activities of This Old House Ventures, based in Stamford, Connecticut. This gives Roku ownership of the worldwide distribution rights and all subsidiary brands including ‘This Old House’ and ‘Ask This Old House’ TV shows, show libraries of over 1,500 episodes, all digital assets and the company’s television production studio in Concord, Mass. In addition to television programming, the company produces web, social, podcast and print content. (Roku offer does not include “New Yankee Workshop”.)
Terms of the contract are not disclosed. A source close to the pact said Roku was paying less than $ 100 million for This Old House Ventures, buying it from private equity firm TZP Group (which acquired it in 2016 from Time Inc.). With the deal, around 55 This Old House Ventures employees join Roku, including CEO Dan Suratt and the team behind the shows.
The deal comes two months after Roku acquired the rights to more than 75 original shows from Quibi, the now-defunct startup led by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, and hired at least five former Quibi employees.
“As we grow we are looking at these additional opportunities to expand our offering, but making sure it fits into our ad-supported model,” said Rob Holmes, vice president of programming. of Roku, in an interview. “These additional investments in content are commensurate with the size and growth of the Roku Channel.”
The Suratt of this Old House Ventures said in a statement, “The passion of the artisans of ‘This Old House’ is matched only by its viewers, and we are very proud that over the past four decades we have them. helped them improve their most valuable asset. – their house. Roku isn’t just America’s # 1 TV streaming platform, it also represents the future of TV, and we couldn’t think of a better home for This Old House to grow and hold its position. leader in the renovation genre.
Select “This Old House” and “Ask This Old House” episodes and specials are currently available on a wide range of digital platforms including IMDb TV, PBS.org and the PBS app, NBCUniversal’s Peacock and Xumo from Comcast, Pluto TV from ViacomCBS, Samsung TV Plus, Tubi from Fox Corp., Vizio smart TVs and YouTube.
Holmes has stated that Roku intends to continue to widely distribute “This Old House” content. “We don’t need it to be exclusive for it to give us value,” he said.
“This Old House” debuted in 1979. In 2020, “This Old House” and “Ask This Old House” were the two top-rated home improvement programs in the United States, according to Nielsen data, and the shows amassed a total of 19 Emmy Awards and 102 Emmy nominations.
According to Holmes, Roku’s strategy of acquiring original content like “This Old House” will complement core programming on the Roku Channel, which includes shows and movies from some 175 licensors. While the subscription VOD business “requires exclusive content all the time, we believe ad-supported models like Roku Channel thrive with content widely distributed across multiple platforms and services,” he said.
Commenting on the sale of Roku, Bill Hunscher, partner of TZP, said the company “is proud to have been the steward of this wonderful brand for the past five years.”
Hunscher and Harrison Davis led the transaction for TZP. Lazard acted as the sole financial advisor to This Old House Ventures on the sale and the law firm Greenberg Traurig provided legal advice. Hogan Lovells is Roku’s legal advisor on the acquisition; the law firm also advised Roku on the deal with Quibi.