Roku Gets $45 Million Investment from News Corp., BSkyB26 Jul, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Roku’s claim as the No. 1 streaming media player July 26 received validation of sorts after securing $45 million in investment funds from News Corp., British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) and another unnamed investor.
Saratoga, Calif.-based Roku said the investment, which includes both financial and business agreements, would be used to develop new markets, brand awareness and increase engineering and production to support sales growth of both hardware and digital media services on the platform including advertising, games, transactional and pay-per-view video as well as content packages.
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. owns 20th Century Fox Studios, including 20th Century Fox Studios Home Entertainment, and a minority stake in satellite TV operator BSkyB.
Roku spearheaded the subscription video-on-demand market in 2008 with the rollout of a Netflix-branded media player. The company sold more than 500,000 media players through its website before entering into retail relationships with Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy and Fry’s Electronics.
The company will launch the Roku Streaming Stick this fall — a wireless, dongle-sized streaming device that integrates with newer TVs and consumer electronics devices. The streaming stick is Roku’s first step in expanding its platform from streaming players to Smart TVs and other devices connected to the TV.
“Roku's significant technology advantage, coupled with a strong market position, places them in a unique position to be an integral part of the television landscape for years to come,” Jon Miller, chief digital officer with News Corp., said in a statement. Miller joins privately held Roku’s board while founder Anthony Wood remains chairman of the board.
BSkyB, which has 10 million subscribers in the United Kingdom, recently rolled out a SVOD platform aimed at competing with Netflix and Amazon-owned LoveFilm Instant.