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Roku says Weird Al parody biopic most-streamed in company’s history

A still frame from Roku's original film "Weird: The Al Yankovich Story."
A still frame from Roku’s original film “Weird: The Al Yankovich Story.” (Image from movie trailer, Graphic by The Desk)

Streaming hardware maker Roku says its first full-length original film “Weird: The Al Yankovich Story” was streamed by millions of people during its debut weekend on the platform.

On Monday, the company said the film was the single most-watched video on its free, ad-supported streaming service the Roku Channel, which is available on Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung devices.

According to a spokesperson, the parody biopic of the comedy musician had more unique viewers and more streaming hours than anything else on its flagship app, though the company did not release specific data.

“The response from our streamers to Weird: The Al Yankovic Story has been nothing short of phenomenal. The intense audience passion for this project radiated throughout every step of our launch campaign,” David Eilenberg, the vice president of Roku Originals, said in a statement. “We’re not only proud of its global record-breaking performance but are so thrilled to see that it drove more first-time, new audiences to The Roku Channel than any past content launch.”

Like Weird Al’s music, “Weird” is a parody of its genre, positing itself as a “true,” yet outlandish biography of the artist. The film stars actor Daniel Radcliffe as a grown-up Yankovich, who purportedly dated Madonna and wrote “Eat It” before Michael Jackson debuted the similar-sounding “Beat It,” if any of that is to be believed.

The film debuted on November 4 via the Roku Channel, which is available as a free application across all modern Roku devices and TV sets as well as on Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Tizen-powered TV sets and on mobile and tablet devices.

Roku has been beefing up its Roku Channel content library as it shifts its overall business priority away from hardware sales in favor of advertising and brand sponsorship deals.

Last year, the company paid less than $100 million to acquire the short-form video library of now-defunct streaming service Quibi, with those programs integrated into the Roku Channel within a matter of months.

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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).