Gearing up to create original shows of its own making, Roku is dipping into the Quibi library it acquired to stream what it’s calling second seasons of Punk’d and Dishmantled.
The streaming platform recently let leak word that it plans to produce more than 50 scripted and unscripted shows over the next two years.
Up till now what Roku has been labeling as Roku Originals have been shows it acquired. It bought the company that makes This Old House and Ask This Old House for $98 million, and it worked with Lionsgate to create Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas, a TV movie that concludes the musical series canceled by NBC.
Roku’s biggest programming splash in January, when it paid $75 million for the rights to the content produced by Quibi, the short-form mobile subscription service that quickly failed after spending billions on programming.
Some of the Quibi series have been renewed--meaning new episodes are being produced. There are still some Quibi episodes that have not yet appeared on Roku that could be released in the coming weeks and months as new Roku Originals.
In the case of Punk’d, the reboot of the MTV hidden camera series, the new season starts Dec. 10 on The Roku Channel with 10 episodes produced by Quibi, seven of which were never streamed before. The new episodes feature celebrities including Adam Levine, Tiffany Haddish and Liz Koshy,
With Dishmantled, an explosive cooking show from the creators of Food Network’s Chopped, the 10 episodes that will start to stream on Dec. 31 were produced by Quibi, but none ever streamed.
Roku has not yet ordered more episodes for a “third season” of either series.
Roku claims that the Quibi shows have viewed by millions on The Roku Channel, but has been stingy with details. But Brian Tannenbaum, head of alternative originals at Roku told Broadcasting+Cable they’ve performed well enough to convince the company to make more originals.
“What has been exciting here to see is that the content at the portfolio level is really performing. It's not just scripted. It's not just unscripted. It's not just documentary.” Tannenbaum. “We can use the insights at the platform level to help inform the types of originals that we should be, you commissioning in this AVOD environment.”
In terms of original unscripted shows, Tannenbaum said Roku is interested in big-format type series such as music competitions, social experiments or dating and relationship shows; lifestyle series about pop culture, home design, food and travel, and adventure-type series featuring extreme jobs, automotive builds, epic adventures and survival.
He open to both hours and half-hours, serialized and closed-end shows, but “personally, what I’m most excited about is digging into these hour-long serializes stories,” said.
Tannenbaum came to Roku from Quibi and said it was good to see the content that went largely unseen at Quibi thrive at Roku.
“I think what's really, really clear is that when you have great content and great distribution and you're available to offer it to streamers for free, it’s just a beautiful marriage for engagement and viewership of content,’ he said. ■
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