has purchased rights to the content library of defunct streaming platform Quibi—at what may turn out to be a bargain price.
Roku said Friday it bought the exclusive rights to stream more than 75 shows and documentaries, including more than a dozen programs that never made it to the ill-fated short-video-streaming app.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Roku paid “significantly less” than $100 million, citing a person familiar with the matter. The Journal first reported on talks between Roku and Quibi earlier this week. Back then, Justin Patterson, equity research analyst at KeyBanc Capital Markets, called such a move “a logical next step for the business, as it combines exclusive content with distribution.”
Quibi content will be available for free on the Roku Channel, which offers shows and films with advertisements. The channel appears to be a growing priority for the company; the Journal previously reported the company had pushed for
(T) WarnerMedia and
(CMCSA) NBCUniversal to provide content for the Roku Channel. That was reportedly among the sticking points that held up negotiations to add their respective HBO Max and Peacock apps to Roku’s platform.
“The Roku Channel is one of the largest and fastest growing channels on our platform today and we are consistently expanding the breadth and quality of our free, ad-supported content for our users,” Rob Holmes, vice president of programming at Roku, said in a news release. “Today’s announcement marks a rare opportunity to acquire compelling new original programming that features some of the biggest names in entertainment.”
Quibi launched in the spring as a short-video platform featuring A-list celebrities, in episodes that were all less than 10 minutes long. The app aimed to appeal to commuters and those on their phones for short bursts, but an audience never materialized, in part because of the pandemic. While it had raised about $1.75 billion, its founder Jeffrey Katzenberg announced in October that Quibi would shut down, return capital to investors and seek to sell off assets.
Roku stock was up 4.1% on Friday afternoon, leaving it up on track for a near-20% weekly gain, while the
was almost flat. The stock is up more than 200% over the past 12 months. Roku said it grew active accounts by 14 million in 2020, as Covid-19 shutdowns boosted at-home entertainment and streaming spending.
Write to Connor Smith at [email protected]