Sticking to its policy of not releasing audience, Roku announced that its first original movie, Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas--based on the series canceled by NBC--was the most viewed program globally on The Roku Channel during its opening weekend, but failed to back that up with any data on viewers.
Roku also noted that the movie--developed with Lionsgate Television, was nominated for a Critics Choice Award in the best TV movie category, Roku’s first Critics Choice nomination.
Roku has been cautiously wading into the original programming pool. After acquiring the Quibi library and the company that produces This Old House, the company leaked plans to produce about 50 shows over the next two years.
“The Roku Channel is the home for standout entertainment,” said Colin Davis, Roku’s head of original scripted programming.
“It is amazing to see such a strong affinity for the film, not only from fans of the series, but also from first time viewers,” Davis said. “The fans deserved a moment to come together again to let their collective heart songs celebrate the holiday season and we are thrilled to bring this special movie to streamers on The Roku Channel. To have our first original film be the top viewed program on The Roku Channel, plus picking up a Critics Choice nomination all within the opening week, is the best early holiday present we could have asked for.”
Since hanging its Roku Original shingle in May, The Roku Channel has claimed original shows have been an important audience driver. In the quarter The Roku Channel, which features free, ad supported content, was one of the top five channels on the platform, according to Roku.
Whip Media has Zoey's Extraordinary Christmas as the No. 4 most-watched streaming movie over the Dec. 3 weekend, behind Red Notice and Single All The Way on Netflix and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on Disney Plus.
Measurement firm Samba TV said Zoey was watched by 49,000 U.S. households in the first four days it was on Roku’s platform. The American audience skewed toward middle including (40,000 to 100,000), more female than male and older. It was especially popular in Charlotte, North Carolina. By comparison, Netflix's The Power of the Dog drew 1.2 million U.S. households.
Samba can’t collect data from millions of smart TV sets that run on the Roku operating system, so maybe take them with a grain of salt.
Roku had no comment on the Samba data, other than to say it doesn’t disclose specific figures. So we have to go with the numbers we have.■
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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.