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Roku Channel Launches on Amazon Fire TV

(Image credit: Roku)

The Roku Channel is now supported by Amazon Fire TV devices. 

It’s a somewhat surprising collaboration between the two top streaming platform operators, Roku and Amazon. Roku Channel, the free, ad-supported programming service featuring thousands movies and TV show episodes, as well as 115 live-linear channels, is now watchable on Amazon Fire TV streaming devices, Amazon Fire TV Edition smart TVs and Amazon Fire TV Edition sound bars in the U.S.

To activate the Roku Channel on Fire TV, users merely use the Alexa voice capabilities and say, “Alexa, find Roku Channel.”

Roku announced the news in this blog post Thursday. 

Notably, Fire TV users who access Roku Channel through their Amazon devices can’t subscribe in-platform to premium services such as HBO or Showtime—that capability would compete directly with Amazon’s Prime Video Channels business. To do that, Roku Channel users have to use the app on the native Roku platform, or access Roku Channel on the open internet. 

Roku and Amazon both say they reach more than 40 million active users. Together, Roku and Amazon control the vast majority of connected TVs in North America (although Google seems to be making a concerted push to disrupt that hegemony with the  Android TV/Google TV.)

Roku Channel has been a major growth driver for what is now Roku’s biggest revenue category, the “platform” business, which mainly accounts for advertising sales. Roku’s platform revenue was up 46% in the second quarter to $244.8 million. 

Roku’s strategy is now to deploy Roku Channel as widely as it can. The streaming company recently announced that will deploy an iOS and Android mobile Roku Channel app in Q4, enabling pretty much anyone with a smart phone to log in. 

Roku is still very much in the business of selling its own OTT devices and enabled smart TVs. It’s hardware revenue was up 35% in Q2 to $111.3 million. But clearly, Roku is more focused don expanding its advertising ecosystem than selling hardware these days.