Roku Finally Finds an Audience for Quibi’s Big-Ticket Shows

Kevin Hart in Die Hart Roku
Kevin Hart with Nathalie Emmaunuel in 'Die Hart,' now a Roku Original

People are finally watching the high-priced, talent laden shows produced for Quibi, but they’re doing it for free on The Roku Channel, according to Roku.

Roku paid some sum under $100 million for the 75 series produced for Jeffrey Katzenberg’s Quibi after the short-form mobile-oriented subscription service went out of business. Roku launched 30 of the shows as “Roku Originals'' on May 20.

“We always believed Roku Originals would perform exceptionally well as free, ad -supported entertainment on The Roku Channel,” said Rob Holmes, Roku’s VP of programming. “The first two weeks have surpassed our expectations, with millions of people streaming Roku Originals, and provided a further demonstration of The Roku Channel flywheel, with great content driving record engagement that’s appealing to advertisers seeking to reach the streaming audience.”

Also Read: Roku Launching Originals: Not Really. Some Day? Not Yet

Roku said that in the two weeks since, it saw more unique accounts streaming The Roku Channel than in any other two-week period. It said there were "millions" of people streaming a Roku Original, but didn't disclose specific numbers.

More than a third of all accounts that streamed The Roku Channel streamed a Roku Original (aka a Quibi show) and the top 10 titles on The Roku Channel were all Roku Originals, Roku said.

The accounts that streamed Roku Originals streamed an average of nine of the short episodes, per Roku.

After building its streaming business with acquired content, Roku has been cautiously dipping a toe into the original content business. In addition to acquiring the barely seen Quibi catalog, Roku premiered the series Cypher in March. It bought the company that produces This Old House for $98 million and signed a deal with Saban Films that brings movies to Roku first after their theatrical release. 

Roku also ordered a second season of Die Hart with Kevin Hart. Season 1 was made for Quibi.

Also Read: Roku Launches Original Show Telling Viewers What's Streaming on Roku

“The Roku Channel has grown to become a leader in free streaming entertainment,” added Holmes. “The momentum around Roku Originals demonstrates not only our ability to acquire great content for The Roku Channel, but to connect that content with the right audience at scale.”

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.