Roku, the TV box provider that offers access to web streaming services such as Netflix, has received a cash investment of $45 million.
The financial backing comes from, among others, News Corporation and BSkyB, which, when combined with the launch of the latter's Now TV service - a direct rival to Netflix - leads many to wonder if this is a move by the British broadcaster to enter the US market.
Rupert Murdoch's News Corp already has a number of applications on the Roku service, including Fox News, WSJ Live and X-Factor, but the Sky investment is an interesting development.
Andrew Griffiths, BSkyB chief financial officer, is certainly upbeat about the future prospects for the partnership. "We’re delighted to have entered into this strategic relationship with Roku," he said.
"As an innovative content company we’re committed to embracing a wide range of complementary platforms to create more choice and flexibility for customers.
"Working with Roku we look forward to extending our multi-platform leadership."
News Corporation too is hoping to take advantage of the deal. “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.”
Roku has also announced its Roku Streaming Stick that will be available in the US from the autumn.
Providing the same experience as its streaming player boxes, the stick is the size of a dongle and plugs directly into a TVs HDMI port - handy if you’re someone who’s always on the go but needs that “Arrested Development” fix here and there.
With this Roku investment, Netflix in particular will be paying close attention, as more Sky content could see them in direct competition to one another. And what of Apple TV, Roku's main rival in the TV streaming stakes?
Do you see this investment as a good thing for Roku? Let us know in the comments below...
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