Roku’s free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) service The Roku Channel is pulling in true crime and lifestyle programming, featured in two linear channels, from social content creators under a new deal with Jellysmack.
Jellysmack is a company that uses AI to detect promising creators and then boost their social growth with multi-platform distribution on social channels such as Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, TikTok and others, as well as financial backing and data-driven content production. Under its deal with The Roku Channel, packaged series from 17 of Jellysmack’s top creators will join the platform on new channels Hello Inspo and Mysteria.
The channels, which are available via Roku Channel’s Live TV guide, mark JellySmack’s first FAST channels and the first creator company deal for Roku. The Hello Inspo lifestyle channel will feature beauty and style hacks, home makeovers, recipes and DIYs from creators including Brad Mondo, Lauren Riihimaki (LaurDIY), Emmeline Mayline Cho (Emmymade), Liz Fenwick, HeXtian, Hellthy JunkFood (JP Lambiase & Julia Goolia), Smitha Deepak, Josh Elkin, and Karina Garcia.
Mysteria, meanwhile, will feature deep dives into crimes and unsolved mysteries, with content from creators including Stephanie Soo, Christina Randall, True Crime Recaps (Amy Townsend & Chris Nathan), Killer Bites, Dr. Todd Grande, John Lordan (LordanArts), Brooke Makenna, and Danelle Hallan.
Content for both linear channels will be updated continuously with new creators added to the schedule as they expand.
“We’re delighted to partner with Jellysmack as the company’s first-ever FAST partner. We are thrilled to provide our audience with content featuring some of today’s most popular digital creators, including Brad Mondo, Lauren Riihimaki, Stephanie Soo, and more through this partnership,” said Ashley Hovey, head of The Roku Channel, AVOD, in a statement. “The addition of these new channels to our Live TV Guide is the latest example of how we aim to provide our users with access to popular entertainment options for free.”
According to the partners, the Roku FAST channels mark an expansion of the Jellysmack creator program, an initiative led by the company’s head of platform partnerships Stefanie Schwartz.
“Our partnership with Roku is about finding big opportunities for creators and their content,” said Schwartz in a statement. “The Roku Channel's linear offering is the #1 FAST service on Roku, America's #1 TV Streaming Platform, giving our creators the ability to reach a large and growing audience. We’re delighted to bring Roku top creators - at scale.”
As of the fourth quarter The Roku Channel reached U.S. households with an estimated 100 million people.
The Roku Channel, which now offers more than 300 free live linear channels and over 80,000 movies and shows, is competing in a growing market of free-to-view ad-supported TV. The FAST service has widened its variety of content in the past year including access to local news from NBC, forays into original content, and entertainment from AMC Networks with 14 linear channels. At the start of 2023 The Roku Channel inked a content deal with Warner Bros. Discovery that added over 225 AVOD titles and 2,000 hours of on-demand content as well as FAST channels.
Although it faces competition, in a TiVo survey of over 4,500 consumers, The Roku Channel ranked as the most popular ad-supported streaming service, followed by Fox’s Tubi, Peacock (which since has done away with its free tier for new subscribers) and Paramount’s Pluto TV.
Roku is looking to attract and engage viewers with free content on The Roku Channel, which also generates ad dollars for the company in a segment that looks poised for growth in the years ahead. In a January report on FAST advertising, analysts at TVREV projected FAST’s share of TV ad spend will surpass that of cable, broadcast or SVOD by 2025 – and grow further to account for a 42% share or $42.6 billion by 2027.