Flush with the $45 million it just raised in a new strategic funding round, Roku says it has big plans to distribute more content, partner with advertiser and expand internationally, taking on competitors such as Vudu, the Boxee box, and, of course, Apple TV, where Roku has some catching up to do. Apple sold four million Apple TV units during its last fiscal year, CEO Tim Cook said during the company's Tuesday earnings call. Roku has sold under three million of its set-top streaming devices to date. But with its new funds, Roku plans on attracting major-brand advertisers—something it's never had before—as well as more premium content providers.
The new funding, raised from News Corp and London-based BSkyB (News Corp is its majority shareholder) is just further proof that Roku and other streaming devices are being embraced by media heavy-hitters such as News Corp, which brought Fox News, WSJ Live, and The X Factor to Roku last year, CEO Anthony Wood tells Fast Company. "These investors are recognizing that distributing premium television on the Internet is becoming mainstream," he says.
Roku hasn't released recent numbers, but Wood says sales were ahead of plan in the company's last two quarters, and are doubling every year.