In its biggest foray into original programming, Roku has purchased the exclusive global distribution rights to the portfolio of Quibi, the only recently closed mobile streaming company, headed by Jeffrey Katzenberg.
The acquisition covers most of Quibi’s library, but some daily news shows are not part of the package. One of Roku’s main draws is talent, a roster that includes Idris Elba, Kevin Hart, Liam Hemsworth, Anna Kendrick, Nicole Richie, Chrissy Teigen, and Lena Waithe. The range includes titles like Most Dangerous Game, Mannequin and Murder House Flip.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
In an interview with Deadline, Roku vice president of programming Rob Holmes told Deadline that the unusual flexibility of rights offered by Quibi will remain in place, with rights reverting after seven years. “We kept everything that was in the existing agreements,” Holmes said. “We are delighted with this. It’s great, high quality, top talent, and high quality content. “
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Programming will be available for free later this year. It will advertise, like it did on the $ 5 per month Quibi service, and it will be hosted on the Roku channel. The hub of free and premium streaming channels, comprising more than 150 free linear and live offerings, has become a mainstay of the company’s strategy since its launch by Roku in 2017. In Q4 2020, it was seen by households representing around 61.8 million people, the company said, doubled its reach by the end of 2019.
The chord puts a final punctuation mark on the Quibi experience. Founded by Katzenberg and Meg Whitman with a remarkable $ 1.75 billion start-up capital, the mobile-focused streaming service made its boisterous debut last April but has never grown in popularity. Six months later, executives announced it would close by the end of the year. The coronavirus pandemic has not helped locals in Quibi, whose name is short for ‘quick bites’, but its broadcasts have also drawn generally mixed reviews, though #FreeRayshawn earned two Emmys.
“Hollywood’s most creative and imaginative minds have created groundbreaking content for
Quibi which exceeded our expectations, ”said Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg. “We are pleased
that these stories, from the surreal to the sublime, have found a new home on The Roku
Financial terms of the deal, which negotiations surfaced last weekend, were not disclosed. As part of the transaction, Roku acquired Quibi Holdings, LLC, the company that owns all content distribution rights for Quibi. Quibi’s infrastructure and technology, like its Turnstyle interface, is not part of the deal.
The user experience on the Roku Channel, concedes Holmes, will be different from the Quibi experience. Unlike shorter bursts on a mobile phone, Roku will be looking for a longer engagement in the living room.
“It’s the same availability of content, the same presentation of content,” Holmes said. “But since we’ve spent a lot of time with it, it really works, but these are just TV episodes. I think their premise was, you have 10 minutes, you would watch it. We think it’s TV, someone is going to spend half an hour or an hour or two watching it because it’s so convincing. He added, “Usually you don’t see content like this for free streaming.”
Holmes said more content acquisitions similar to the Quibi purchase would be likely as Roku continues to grow, although he declined to say what types of programs the company would pursue. Overall, Roku has seen spectacular growth from a maker of hardware boxes and dongles that allow viewers to stream to a tech heavyweight worth nearly $ 50 billion.
In the official announcement of the deal, Holmes described it as “a rare opportunity”. On the Roku Channel, he said, “We are constantly expanding the reach and quality of our free ad-supported content.
for our users. “
Reaching a young audience is another key driver of the deal. Quibi’s ambition was to attract a large audience of viewers between the ages of 18 and 35.
“Quibi has championed some of the most original ideas and inventive storytelling, and I’m so proud of what I’ve been able to create for the platform,” said Veena Sud, Creator, Writer, Director and Executive Producer The foreigner. “I’m so excited that I can now share this thriller with millions of streamers on the Roku Channel.”