The Roku Channel, Roku’s free streaming service that offers thousands of ad-supported titles and 115 live TV channels, is now available to Amazon Fire TV users, the company announced today. And while it may seem odd that The Roku Channel would live on Fire TV devices — Amazon and Roku are direct competitors in set-top-box hardware — it might actually make a lot of sense.
Neither Amazon nor Roku truly rely on hardware sales to boost their TV brands. Amazon’s gadgets have always been a gateway to Amazon’s services, and the company may just need more content to offer its Fire TV on top of its existing channels. Meanwhile, Roku makes the majority of its revenue through advertising and subscriptions, which is a big part of why it took so long for NBCUniversal’s Peacock to roll out on Roku. It makes sense that the company would want to make the Roku Channel accessible to as many people as possible.
Roku executives announced at the end of the company’s second quarter this year that its brand reaches an estimated 43 million people across the US. If a decent portion of those customers spend time watching The Roku Channel, Roku can make a bigger play for even more advertising revenue.
Roku launched The Roku Channel in 2017, and has steadily invested in growing it since. Bringing the channel to Amazon is just one of many steps Roku is taking to get the service in front of as many eyeballs as possible; Roku is also developing an app for Apple and Android devices, set to roll out this year, to make it easier for people to watch on their phones. But while Amazon Fire TV owners can now watch Roku Channel content, they still can’t subscribe to premium channels or services through the Channel on Amazon — those have to be done on Roku devices. Roku already hosts Amazon Prime Video and Amazon Music on its devices, too.
Roku is rolling out the Roku Channel to Amazon Fire TV devices, Fire TV smart television sets, and Fire TV Edition sound bars.