Last year, Roku sweetened the deal for its streaming players and smart TVs with the Roku Channel, a source of free movies and TV shows that has about half the advertising of traditional linear channels. Now, Roku says it will bring that channel to Samsung’s smart TVs over the summer.
It’s a new strategy for Roku, which until now has relied on its own TV operating system to make money. Although Samsung is ostensibly a competitor, bringing the Roku Channel to Samsung TVs gives Roku a bigger audience for advertising, and presumably makes the Roku Channel a more attractive distribution path for TV and movie studios. The strategy is similar to how Google offers its apps on Apple’s iOS devices, while also competing with Apple through Android.
Samsung probably won’t be the only outside venue for the Roku Channel either. Sources have told Variety that Roku wants to stream movies and shows on iOS and Android as well.