Roku snaps up Quibi’s collection of short shows

Entertainment platform Roku has acquired the rights to more than 75 programmes and short films created for the failed streaming service Quibi.

Quibi broadcast short programmes less than 10 minutes long, but collapsed just six months after its launch.

Roku, which is known for its internet-connected set-top boxes and dongles, will show the programmes on its own streaming service free of charge.

Quibi co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg said he was “thrilled” by the deal.

Roku has not announced how much it paid for Quibi Holdings.

But Rob Holmes, vice-president of programming for Roku, told the BBC: “The pivot from subscription to ad-supported is a different set of economics. We’re really excited about the value we were able to achieve through the ad-supported model.

“This is the kind of content that you don’t normally get for free.”

As part of the acquisition, Roku will inherit “most of” the Quibi library. Some topical programmes, such as Around The World by BBC News, will not appear on the Roku Channel.

However, more than a dozen programmes that were commissioned for Quibi before it collapsed will be seen on the Roku Channel for the first time.

They include The Now – a film by US directors the Farrelly brothers – and Slugfest, a documentary about the relationship between Marvel and DC Comics.

Roku’s entertainment software is available on a variety of streaming devices and is built-in to several brands of smart TV.

In December, the company said it had more than 50 million active accounts.

The Roku Channel is the company’s own streaming service, which will broadcast Quibi programmes subscription-free, supported by advertising.

The company said the programmes would be made available later in 2021.

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