On May 20, Roku will launch the first batch of Roku Originals – a collection of 30 shows originally produced for Quibi, the short-lived mobile entertainment startup run by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman. Roku paid significantly less than $ 100 million for the missing company’s assets, including rights to more than 75 shows in total.
Shows span genres and formats, including scripted series, documentaries, alternative and reality programming. Among the first “Roku Originals” coming next week is Kevin Hart’s action series “Die Hart,” Emmy-winning drama “#FreeRayshawn” starring Laurence Fishburne and Jasmine Cephas Jones, the revival of “Reno 911!” From Comedy Central. and “Dummy,” starring Anna Kendrick as a woman who befriends her boyfriend’s sex doll.
The lineup also includes “Chrissy’s Court,” a “Judge Judy” style show starring Chrissy Teigen; a reboot of MTV’s “Punk’d” hosted by Chance the Rapper; Jennifer Lopez’s “Thank You A Million” Reality TV Show; and the “Cup of Joe” travel series with Joe Jonas. On the scripted front, there’s “Most Dangerous Game,” a dystopian thriller starring Liam Hemsworth and Christoph Waltz; “Flipped,” a black comedy starring Will Forte and Kaitlin Olson; and a remake of “The Fugitive” with Kiefer Sutherland.
All Roku Originals will be available for free on the Roku platform for viewers in the US, UK, and Canada. Roku retains the length of the original Quibi episodes – around 10 minutes each, they were meant to be made for mobile viewing. The company will run commercials between Quibi episodes (not inside of them), promising commercial breaks of no longer than 60 seconds.
In the first quarter of 2021, The Roku Channel reached American homes of around 70 million people. Roku Channel audience and streaming hours more than doubled year over year in the quarter, growing twice as fast as Roku’s overall platform.
“This makes this an opportune time to launch Roku Originals, to capture that momentum,” said Sweta Patel, vice president of engagement growth marketing.
Here is the full list of Quibi programs that will be available on May 20: “#FreeRayshawn”; “About the face”; “Bad Ideas with Adam Devine”; “Barkitechture”; “Big Rad Wolf”; “Blackballed”; “Master piece”; “Chrissy’s Court”; “Joe’s Cup”; “Die Hart”; “Dishmantled”; “Dummy”; “Fight like a girl”; ” Reversed “; ” The fugitive “; “Gayme Show”; “Iron sharpens iron”; “Last looks”; “Let’s go with Tony Greenhand”; “Most Dangerous Game”; “Murder House Flip”; “Murder Unboxed”; “Nightgowns”; “Prodigy”; “Punk’d”; “Reno 911!”; ” Royalty fee “; “Shape of pasta”; ” Many thanks “; and “You don’t have them. “
Roku is launching the Roku Originals section on May 20, which the company is celebrating as “Streaming Day” (commemorating the day in 2008 when it launched its first streaming player) and will again offer various product discounts and promotions. On Roku devices, there will be a new bar in the left menu that links directly to Roku Originals. The company will also promote original content in on-screen ads and plans to do homepage covers for some titles.
Roku is also teaming up with Laugh Out Loud, Kevin Hart’s cross-platform comedy brand, to launch Linear LOL! Network on the Roku Channel next week. “LOL’s partnership with Roku is the culmination of a lot of hard work from two great teams, and I’m delighted that ‘Die Hart’ and LOL! The network will be available on The Roku Channel, ”Hart said in a statement.
Roku Originals will join The Roku Channel’s lineup of over 40,000 free movies and TV episodes, as well as over 190 free live linear channels and access to subscription VOD services. In addition to Roku devices, The Roku Channel is available on the web, iOS and Android devices, Amazon Fire TV, and select Samsung TVs.
Roku’s Patel said that in Quibi’s initial selection of 30 shows, the company wanted to make it as inclusive as possible. “We wanted to make sure we had something for everyone, with depth, breadth and diversity,” she said.
Roku still has 45 other Quibi shows in his back pocket (some of which are in post-production and were never released by Quibi). But what about after that? “We always keep looking for content,” Patel said. “We make sure that the content is profitable, whether we produce it in-house or use an external production partner.” In addition to acquiring Quibi’s content assets, Roku hired several former Quibi employees as part of building up the original content team.
Patel added that Roku is not married to Quibi’s short episode format. “All that works for us is what works for AVOD,” she said.
In March, Roku paid $ 98 million to acquire the producer of “This Old House” as part of a deal that included a library of more than 1,500 episodes. However, Roku will continue to distribute this content widely, rather than making it available exclusively on The Roku Channel.
(Photo above: Anna Kendrick in “Dummy”)