Apple Strikes Deal With Roku to Add Apple TV+ Button to Remotes

The deal comes as Apple is working to attract more subscribers to its streaming service

In an effort to drive more viewers to its streaming service, Apple is now paying to have an Apple TV+ button on Roku’s newest remotes.

The agreement between the two sides was first reported by The Verge back in April, but the first look at Roku’s updated remote hit the company’s website on Wednesday morning. The Apple TV+ button sits alongside buttons for streaming rivals Netflix, Hulu and Disney+.

Terms of the Apple-Roku deal have not been disclosed, and both sides have been fairly quiet about the pairing. A Roku spokesperson declined to comment on Wednesday, and a representative for Apple did not immediately respond to TheWrap.

The deal likely isn’t cheap, though, considering Bloomberg previously reported Roku gets about $1 per customer for similar arrangements. Roku had 53.6 million active accounts at the end of the first quarter of 2021.

Roku’s new remotes have already started popping up at retailers like Best Buy, The New York Post reported on Wednesday, on devices like Roku’s $39.99 Express 4K+ streaming player.

The deal comes as Apple is working to attract more subscribers to its streaming service, which launched in late 2019. Apple has been mum about how many subscribers Apple TV+ has, but Ampere Analysis estimated the company had 40 million subscribers by the end of 2020. A healthy amount of those subscribers may not have been paying for the service, though, considering Apple gave many of its customers a free one-year TV+ trial when they bought other products. In January, MoffettNathanson estimated 62% of Apple TV+ subscribers were still using their free offer, and only 30% said they’d continue paying for the $4.99 per month service once their trial ended.

Apple TV+ now has 90 original shows and movies, including the Jason Sudeikis comedy series “Ted Lasso,” “The Morning Show” with Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon and the Tom Hanks flick “Greyhound.” For comparison, Apple TV+ trails behind established streaming players like Netflix, which leads the pack with about 208 million subscribers, and Disney+, which has 103.6 million subscribers.

Roku’s stock price was up about 4% on Wednesday, trading at $458 per share.


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