The Roku Channel is poised to get a slate of AMC-created and programmed free ad-supported streaming TV channels under a new multi-year deal, which also includes on-demand content and the continued offer of the network’s premium subscription services.
Specifically, The Roku Channel is teeing up 11 FAST channels from AMC – including one that’s exclusive to the Roku platform – AMC Showcase, featuring hit dramas such as “Mad Men.” As TVREV’s Alan Wolk previously noted to Fierce, exclusivity of FAST channels is rare as they typically utilize library content, though some platforms have had deals for exclusive windows of say 3-6 months, for example.
The ten other AMC free ad-supported linear channels coming soon include:
Stories by AMC
The Walking Dead Universe
Slightly Off by IFC
Thrillers by AMC
All Reality WE TV
IFC Films Picks
All Weddings WE TV
AMC en Espanol
According to Roku, an expansive lineup of AVOD content from AMC is being added to the platform, including movies and reality show from WE tv. The partnership also means Roku will continue to offer AMC’s streaming services AMC+, Shudder and Acorn TV through Premium Subscriptions, with its anime service HIDIVE launching as a premium subscription partner at a yet-to-be disclosed time.
In announcing the partnership, AMC Networks Chief Commerical Officer Kim Kelleher said that in addition to making more AMC content available to Roku users and launching curated FAST channels for the first time, the deal also helps its distribution goals.
The expanded relationship “serves our strategic goal of distributing and windowing our high-quality content across a coordinated ecosystem that includes our own networks and streaming services and leading partner platforms. We are thrilled to be in business with Roku and to have expanded this key partner relationship for years to come,” Kelleher commented.
Roku just reported third-quarter results on Wednesday, where executives warned of a tough Q4 partly due to a weak TV ad market amid a difficult macro environment.
Still, in the third quarter Roku saw active accounts grow by 2.3 million to reach a total of 65.4 million, and streaming hours were up 21% over the prior year period to 21.9 billion. In Q3 The Roku Channel (a FAST service within Roku’s ecosystem) was again a top 5 channel on the platform in the U.S., based on active account reach and engaged streaming hours. Streaming hours on The Roku Channel grew more than 90% year over year in Q3.
In terms of appealing to viewers, The Roku Channel ranked as the most popular ad-supported streaming service based on TiVo’s most recent quarterly survey, ahead of Fox’s Tubi, NBCUniversal’s Peacock and Paramount’s Pluto TV.
The Roku Channel currently offers more than 80,000 free movies and shows and over 300 free live linear TV (or FAST) channels in the U.S., licensing and distributing content from more than 250 partners. Along with Roku devices, viewers can access The Roku Channel on iOS and Android devices, Amazon Fire TV and select Samsung smart TVs, as well as the web.
“Everyday, audiences come to The Roku Channel for easy access to a wide range of entertainment options. We are constantly working to enhance our programming portfolio to meet the needs of our users,” said Rob Holmes, VP of Programming at Roku, in a statement Thursday. “Through this multi-faceted expansion of our partnership, we are pleased to provide our audiences with even more top content, plus exclusive programming, from AMC Networks, and look forward to connecting AMC Networks with viewers across The Roku Channel’s programming ecosystem.”