Roku takes $60 million in funding, wants to be the front end for your TV

Despite its image as an underdog, Roku knows how to court some heavy hitters in the TV business: on top of a total $80 million in previous investments, it just received a $60 million boost this week. The new funding round has BSkyB and News Corp returning with checkbooks in hand, but it also includes a fresh contribution from Hearst, which wants Roku's help in building services for its TV channels. The media hub maker is getting more than partnerships in return, however. It's using the cash to expand its Roku Ready program, which now includes 24 hardware partners. The company's Anthony Wood ultimately wants Roku software to be commonplace -- it can be an "operating system for televisions," he tells The Hollywood Reporter. While there's no guarantee that Roku will reach that kind of ubiquity, it may well have the cash to get there.

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Roku Receives $60 Million Investment from a Leading Institutional Investor, BSkyB, Hearst Corporation and News Corporation

Strategic Relationships Position Roku for Accelerated Growth in Streaming Software and Services


Roku® Inc. today announced that it has received a $60 million investment that readies the company for growth around its streaming software and services businesses. Led by one of the world's largest institutional investors, the investment includes participation from large global media and television distribution companies. Two new Roku investors participated in the Series F round-the institutional investor and Hearst Corporation which is known for its diversified media and information assets. They join prior Roku investors, including British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) and News Corporation in the Series F round.

The new investment will fuel Roku's growth which has accelerated in the last year. Best known for its lineup of popular streaming players, including the new Roku 3 which has quickly become the new streaming standard in the U.S., the company is extending its streaming platform by working with other consumer electronics brands. Today, Roku is working with two dozen OEMs who are making more than 3.5 million Roku Ready® devices, predominantly TVs that will be in retail by the end of the year. Roku Ready devices access the Roku streaming platform through the Roku Streaming Stick™, a small USB-sized device sold by Roku. In the coming months, Roku will continue to expand access points to its streaming platform.

"Roku has built a strong brand that is widely recognized for great technology and a broad selection of high-quality content," said Ken Bronfin, senior managing director at Hearst Ventures, a unit of Hearst Corporation. "We are truly impressed that Roku has built such a unique position in the market and we look forward to working with them to develop innovative products and services for our television audiences."

As well as expanding distribution for its platform, Roku continues to provide the largest and best collection of streaming entertainment made for the TV experience. In 2012 Roku streamed more than one billion hours of video and music. Whether it's the game of the season, an Oscar-winning movie, a favorite TV show, the hottest single or a few minutes of casual game play, Roku provides more entertainment choices and a better TV-quality experience than any other streaming device.

"Roku has a significant portfolio of investment and strategic partners with very successful global businesses. Their recognition of our brand success and belief in the Roku platform is a tremendous endorsement of our potential to shape the future television experience," said Roku Founder and Chief Executive Officer Anthony Wood. "BSkyB and News Corporation are exceptional partners and we look forward to deepening our relationship with Hearst in the months to come."