Roku Takes in $45M Investment; Will Build Brand Awareness
Set-top box maker Roku announced today that it has taken in $45 million in new investments from News Corporation and British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB), as well as prior investors Menlo Ventures and Globespan Capital Partners. That shows a surprising amount of certainty in the set-top box market, considering the increased use of smart TVs, as well as competition from game consoles and other boxes such as the Apple TV.
The value of these investments isn't purely monetary, however, but also demonstrates broadcasters' confidence in Roku devices.
Roku announced that it will use the funds to improve its brand awareness. It also plans to grow into new international markets and bolster its engineering and productions systems. Those improvements are necessary to support the future growth of advertising, games, and pay-per-view video on the platform.
The company also noted that the Roku Streaming Stick, first announced in January of this year, will launch in the fall. The Streaming Stick is the size of a USB flash drive, and it plugs into an HDMI port on televisions that offer MHL-enabled HDMI. The advantage is that it delivers Roku's channels and services in a compact and cord-free package. The company hasn't yet announced models or pricing for the Streaming Stick.
As part of the new investment, Jon Miller, chief digital officer for News Corporation, will join Roku's board of directors.
The UK's Sky has announced it will be the first operator to deploy the hybrid box, which will debut sometime later this year.