Roku, the company behind the Roku media streaming boxes, has recently received $60 million in investments, and could use that money to develop an operating system for televisions.
The company’s latest investment has come largely from media companies, namely British Sky Broadcasting, News Corp. and Hearst Corp., along with a fourth unnamed institutional investor. Roku’s total funding to date stands around $140 million.
Roku Chief Executive Officer Anthony Wood told The Hollywood Reporter the company sees a “huge opportunity to be an operating system for televisions and that’s what we’re focused on right now.”
The company is reportedly working with about two dozen TV manufacturers to have Roku software built directly into TV sets, essentially making them smart TVs running a Roku OS.
As it stands now, Roku has developed a series of media streaming boxes that allow users to stream online content like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Pandora directly to their television. The company sells four versions of the player, ranging in price from $49 to $99, with the most recent being the Roku 3.
It’s no secret many consumers are attempting to cut the cord when it comes to cable and devices like the Roku can help with that initiative. However, Roku is interested in working with cable companies to build a model that works for both of them. Currently, Roku’s continuing revenue streams come from user’s renting and buying movies via the device, as Roku gets a cut of every transaction. Additionally, Roku receives a fee for carrying and promoting channels.
Roku works with companies like Time Warner Cable to offer its users their content via an app, promoting the cable company, while also gaining revenue and new customers for itself.
The company is also working with original equipment manufacturers to build “Roku-ready” smart TVs, which would be compatible with the Roku Streaming Stick, which adds streaming capabilities via a USB-plug-sized stick that can be inserted into the TVs MHL port. According to Roku, 3.5 million devices will be certified to work with Roku by the end of the year.
Source: Hollywood Reporter