The Roku Channel brings on 14 new channels, including local NBC news

The Roku Channel is beefing up its Live TV Guide with 14 new linear channels, including the addition of three more featuring NBC local news and six channels from Scripps.

Roku’s free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) platform first included local news from NBCUniversal in June, when it added eight channels. The latest additions cover NBC local news channels for San Diego, Boston and the Bay Area. It’s also added a national broadcast channel, LX News, which is a news network by NBCUniversal Local aimed at adults 18-54.

In the announcement, Meredith McGinn, EVP of diginets and original production at NBCUniversal Local, said that the three new NBC news options come to The Roku Channel audience after “a very successful launch of our channels earlier this summer.”

“If you’re looking to get the latest local news from NBC stations or want to go beyond the headlines, our NBC local news channels and LX News will deliver this and more,” McGinn continued.

Ashley Hovey, head of The Roku Channel AVOD, echoed a similar sentiment of local NBC news channels resonating with viewers.

“Since launching our local news category earlier this summer, we have seen users come to The Roku Channel to engage with this programming category in a meaningful way,” Hovey said in a statement. “We’re proud to offer a convenient way for millions of streamers to stay informed on important local topics and current events.”

And as analyst and research firm TVREV pointed out in a recent primer report on the FAST landscape, news is a key category bringing in viewers.

“News is a huge driver of FAST viewing too – news and movies were the two categories that all the executives we spoke with – regardless of which service they were with - cited as being the most popular with viewers,” wrote TVREV’s Alan Wolk.

Other new channel offerings include programming focused on Spanish-language entertainment, lifestyle and true crime genres. From Scripps, Roku is adding Bounce XL, Court TV, Grit Xtra, Ion, Ion Mystery and Ion Plus. Those channels include popular series such as “NCIS,” “Chicago P.D.,” and “Law & Order,” among others.

Also added to the lineup is BBC Kids, Cine Estrella TV – a new 24-hour movie channel focused on Latin cinema, and Roku Channel Westerns – featuring a lineup of classic and modern Western movies and series.

“We’re thrilled to continue rolling out new channels to our Live TV Guide and continue expanding in entertainment categories we know our audiences enjoy and value,” said Hovey in a statement. “From local news channels to your favorite drama and crime series, to additional Spanish-language content, we are committed to providing it all for our viewers.”

The Roku Channel first launched in 2017, and in Q2 2022 was the No. 1 FAST service by active account reach on the Roku platform in the U.S., according to the company.  At the beginning of this year it introduced a “Live TV Zone” on the home screen to help facilitate easy access to its free ad-supported streaming TV channels.

The company also said it believes The Roku Channel has a significant growth opportunity ahead, given FAST was the fastest-growing streaming TV segment – doubling year-over-year in the U.S. in Q4 to reach 18% penetration, according to Kantar.  

As of Q4 The Roku Channel reached U.S. households with an estimated 80 million people. It features more than 80,000 free movies and programs and over 300 free live linear TV channels in the U.S.