Roku Amps Up Pay-TV Partnership Play

Looking to expand its international presence, Roku has launched a program aimed at helping it connect with pay-TV operators.

The company’s Roku Powered program, announced ahead of the IBC show in Amsterdam, will provide those operators with access to Roku hardware as well as the ability to customize user interface themes and promote their own services and apps, and gain control of the streaming content, including local channels, that is delivered via the platform. 

Roku said it pioneered the approach in 2012 when it collaborated with BSkyB on the NOW TV Box, which was launched last summer. Roku said that it marked the first time it had licensed its streaming platform, enabling Sky to pipe in over-the-top video using hardware running Roku’s software.

“There has been incredible demand from Pay TV providers for a simple way to address the increasing consumer interest in Internet-delivered entertainment,” said Steve Shannon, general manager of content and services at Roku, in a statement.

“The innovative licensing approach we developed with Roku dramatically reduced our time to market, enabling us to capitalize on the growing demand for Internet TV by launching a powerful and great value streaming box,” added Emma Lloyd, director of corporate business development at Sky, in a statement. “The NOW TV Box is already a key component in our over-the-top leadership, giving customers another simple way of accessing Sky content and further extending our distribution footprint.”