The Roku Channel expansion is basically confirmed

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The Roku Channel expansion is basically confirmed

Roku essentially confirmed its plans to bring its free, ad-supported “The Roku Channel” streaming service to a wide number of non-Roku hardware platforms, with an update to its Privacy Policy. As first spotted by Variety, the new policy has users agreeing to or opting out of being served personalized ads on “non-Roku OTT devices” (over-the-top devices) like “third-party Smart TVs, set top boxes, media streaming devices, and gaming consoles.”

The company’s plans to start streaming The Roku Channel to other devices had already been reported, but not officially confirmed. Those plans became real last month, when Roku announced it would launch The Roku Channel on select Samsung Smart TVs this summer. However, Roku didn’t confirm then what other platforms, if any, would also gain access to the channel in the months ahead.

But clearly, it’s going to be quite a few – including, potentially, those from its hardware competitors who also make their own “media streaming devices.”

Roku still isn’t confirming which devices or when, but did admit the privacy policy is a hint of what’s to come.

“We don’t have any announcements right now regarding further distribution of The Roku Channel,” a Roku spokesperson said. “We updated privacy policy in anticipation of activities,” they added.

The idea with The Roku Channel is to create another revenue stream for the company that’s not tied to hardware sales.

This is a direction Roku has been heading for some time, by increasing its focus on its software platform. It has been licensing out its OS to other TV manufacturers – like Insignia, which sells its Roku TVs at Best Buy. (That happens to be the same retailer that just teamed up with Amazon to sell its Fire TV Edition sets, too.)

The Roku Channel ships with the Roku OS, but it can also be broken off and distributed on its own.

Currently, The Roku Channel aggregates the free content on Roku, alongside TV and movies from deals Roku has done itself with studios like Lionsgate, MGM, Paramount, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Warner Brothers. Just this week, Roku added live news to its channel, too, via partnerships with Cheddar, PeopleTV and a brand-new streaming news service called ABC News Live.

With The Roku Channel, Roku is no longer just a media player platform – it’s a streaming service, as well.

The ad-supported channel could find traction on other hardware devices, where users today turn to free apps like Vudu (Vudu Movies on Us), Crackle, and Tubi TV to find free content.

Roku’s pitch to advertisers is its ad personalization technology, but users are able to opt out of this targeting through the form here, it seems.

The relevant part of the new privacy policy is below:

Roku may show you personalized ads on non-Roku OTT devices such as third party Smart TVs, set top boxes, media streaming devices, and gaming consoles. To opt out of receiving personalized ads from Roku on third party OTT devices at the IP address listed below, click Submit. We associate your opt out choice with the IP address you are currently using; if you access third party OTT devices from a different IP address and wish to opt out, you will need to opt out while connected to that different IP address.

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