Roku may be working on a strategy to launch a streaming service on devices made or controlled by competitors like Android and Google, according to Variety, who cited three sources close to the matter. According to one of those sources, Roku’s first foray into streaming on third-party hardware will likely involve mobile devices.
A Roku spokesperson declined to comment on the situation.
The move by the company is an expected one. As of now, Roku makes a majority of its money from selling hardware. Despite users streaming more than 3 billion hours of content on the device each quarter, most of those streaming hours don’t impact Roku’s bottom line– not even Netflix, which accounts for a third of Roku’s streaming hours. Though Roku monetizes every customer, it only generates about $11.22 per active user.
Recently, in an effort to boost revenue, the company launched an ad-supported service titled “The Roku Channel.” The company has already struck licensing deals with Lionsgate, MGM, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Warner Bros to bring to the service such films as “Ali,” “The Karate Kid” and “Legally Blonde.” Roku is also working with companies that already have channels via its platform, including American Classics, Fandor, FilmRise, Nosey, OVGuide, Popcornflix, Vidmark and YuYu, to help spotlight their free programming.
This move, if successful, has the potential to be a big money earner for the company. If Roku does start by offering its streaming service on mobile devices, its existing mobile app will be key to its strategy. As of now, the app, which has been downloaded more than 10 million times alone on Android phones, is used primarily for its virtual remote feature that lets users control the device from their phone.
The company has yet to publicly announce any of these plans. However, Variety points to a recent job posting from Roku as additional evidence for its claim. The posting was for a senior iOS engineering role and told applicants that “Roku mobile is on the cusp of a major expansion.” The job description went on to detail that applicants should be comfortable with handling iOS technologies used for media playback.
It is unknown whether the company has any immediate plans to bring the Roku channel, or other content, to streaming boxes like Amazon’s Fire TV or Google Chrome.