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Roku inks deal to offer new Saban movies on Roku Channel

(Startup animation by Roku, interactive animation by The Desk)

Roku will add more movies to its free, ad-supported streaming service thanks to a new agreement with Saban Films that will see the streaming hardware maker land exclusive pay-one distribution rights to movies released by the studio.

The deal will allow Roku to debut a handful of Saban-produced films after they exit their theatrical window later this year. Those films include “Echo Boomers,” which will debut in the middle of next month, and Joel McHale’s “Happily.”

“Saban Films is a great partner with a history of creating standout films,” Rob Holmes, the senior executive in charge of programming at Roku, said in a statement. “This first-of-its-kind agreement allows us to bring these compelling films exclusively to our large, engaged audience for free, and to build upon the incredible growth of The Roku Channel.”

The agreement covers the Roku Channel’s services in the United States and Canada, though some films — including the upcoming movie “Percy VS Goliath” — will only be available in the United States.

The movies will be available to purchase for home viewing through traditional outlets, including digital video rental stores, while they are offered on the Roku Channel.

Since it launched in 2017, the Roku Channel has grown its library of television shows, films and linear channels. Most of the programs are offered for free with short advertisement breaks supplementing the cost of licensing the shows and movies. Some premium subscription services, including Showtime and Starz, are also accessible through the Roku Channel for separate fees.

The Roku Channel is offered natively through Roku’s own streaming hardware and is accessible through Roku-branded iOS and Android smartphone and tablet apps. The service is also available on Amazon Fire TV and some Tizen-powered Samsung smart TVs through a dedicated Roku Channel app.

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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).