Roku, a company which sells boxes that make it easy to connect to streaming web services such as Netflix, has raised a $45 million investment round from News Corp, BSkyB, an unnamed strategic investor, and existing investors Menlo Ventures and Globespan Capital Partners.
The investments will bring Roku closer ties to a pair of properties controlled by media mogul Rupert Murdoch. Last week, BSkyB said that Roku would be one of a number of partners for the broadcaster’s NOW TV service. And Roku already streams content from three News Corp. properties: Fox News, The Wall Street Journal Live, and The X Factor. Jon Miller, who leads News Corp’s digital efforts will join Roku’s board of directors.
Roku will use the new capital to build further brand awareness through advertising, develop new international markets, and increase engineering and production to support sales growth of both hardware and digital media services on the platform including advertising, games, transactional and pay-per-view video as well as content packages.
“We have watched Roku maintain market leadership since the launch of its streaming platform four years ago and we look forward to deepening our relationship, having already worked closely together on the launch of several products,” said News Corporation Chief Digital Officer Jon Miller. “Roku’s significant technology advantage, coupled with a strong market position, places them in a unique position to be an integral part of the television landscape for years to come.”
“We’re delighted to have entered into this strategic relationship with Roku. As an innovative content company we’re committed to embracing a wide range of complementary platforms to create more choice and flexibility for customers,” said BSkyB Chief Financial Officer Andrew Griffith. “Coupled with the on-going strength of satellite distribution, online and mobile help us unlock even more value for customers. Working with Roku we look forward to extending our multi-platform leadership.”
“Our philosophy is to give consumers the best streaming TV experience, with the most content and at the best value in the market; and it has served us well as millions of consumers have brought Roku into their homes,” said Roku Founder and Chief Executive Officer Anthony Wood. “With the News Corporation and Sky strategic relationships, we are poised to further grow our leadership position and to become the TV distribution platform of the future.”