Roku is taking on Netflix and Amazon with its Roku Originals

Roku Remote
Roku Remote (Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Roku today announced Roku Originals.
  • Quibi content will be the first set of shows to debut under the brand.
  • The company will make a fuller, more fleshed-out announcement later in May.

Roku purchased Quiibi for "significantly less than $100 million" earlier this year, and now the company is integrating this content into its platform. Like other streaming services before it, Roku is adopting the "eponymous originals" label and calling these the Roku Originals. They'll be made available on The Roku Channel today, and join its slate of over 25, 000 TV shows and movies. That's not all the Roku Originals brand will be used for, however. The company has also signaled that it plans to make more original content of its own in the coming weeks. This matches earlier reports that Roku had been scouting for an original content team.

Quibi content didn't quite take off when Quibi was a thing due to the platform's aversion to sharing. It could find a stronger audience on Roku devices, but it's still questionable how to what extent content that already failed in the not-so-distant past would now become a draw for new audiences.

Sweta Patel, Vice President of Engagement Growth Marketing, at Roku, said:

We're thrilled to introduce this award-winning and diverse portfolio of entertainment under the Roku Originals brand – it's relevant, fun and thought-provoking TV that has something for everyone from the best talent in Hollywood, including Anna Kendrick, Chrissy Teigen, Lena Waithe, Idris Elba, Kevin Hart, and Liam Hemsworth. The Roku Channel is the place for incredible, free programming and we are excited to bring this premium content to the biggest screen in the home.

Original content is the big draw for streaming services right now. With there being a large overlap between content, there's an incentive to build up a catalog that can't be replicated if your rival strikes the right deal, hence content like Stranger Things, Justice League, and Wandavision. It's also a way for smaller companies like Roku to carve out a niche for themselves when omitted against behemoths like Disney's Disney+ and WarnerMedia's HBO Max.

Roku says that it'll share more about Roku Originals in May.

Michael Allison