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Roku rolls out free, ad-supported service in Mexico

The "Continue Watching" menu is displayed on a Roku streaming TV device.
The “Continue Watching” feature is displayed on a Roku streaming TV device. (Graphic by The Desk)

Electronics maker Roku says it has launched a version of its free, ad-supported streaming service in Mexico.

The Roku Channel became available to users of Roku-powered streaming devices and smart television sets in Mexico this week, the company affirmed in a press release on Thursday.

“Launching The Roku Channel in Mexico represents a pivotal moment for our business as we continue to expand internationally and offer streamers free access to great entertainment and news content,” Rob Holmes, the vice president of programming at Roku, said in a statement.

The Roku Channel will launch in Mexico with nearly three dozen original series in Spanish, including “Natural Born Narco,” “Operació Marea Negra” and “Mamas.” Hit blockbuster films like “Blade Runner 2049” will also be available through the service, which can be accessed without a login or a subscription. Content will be sourced from numerous libraries and distributors, including Sony Pictures, Lionsgate and Telefórmula.

Along with hundreds of on-demand titles, the Roku Channel will offer more than 25 linear streams of content, including Runtime Español and Canela TV.

“Free entertainment is one of the most searched-for categories on our platform, so we are pleased to meet that demand with the launch of The Roku Channel in Mexico,” Mirjam Laux, a Roku executive in charge of international content and advertising, said on Thursday.

The free streaming service is built into most newer-model Roku devices sold in Mexico, including the budget streamer Roku Express, which costs as little as ₱900 (about $45). The company also licenses the Roku operating system to numerous smart TV makers, including JVC, Philips, Sanyo, Daewoo, Hisense, TCL and Walmart’s Atvio. More than 3,000 Walmart, Bodega Aurrera, Liverpool and other stores sell Roku streaming devices and TV sets in Mexico.

Roku said those partnerships have made it the top streaming platform in Mexico, according to information released by the company last year.

In addition to the Roku Channel, Roku devices in Mexico can access a number of free and subscription-based services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, Vix, Fanatiz, HBO Max, Pluto TV, Tubi, Paramount Plus, YouTube and Apple TV Plus.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).