Roku, the maker of a nifty device that plays a variety of content over televisions, is getting $45 million in a new round of investment from News Corp.
There’s a third group of content that’s just starting to come onto devices like Roku, and that’s the incumbents like ESPN, Disney and HBO.
Current investors Menlo Ventures and Globespan Capital Partners will also be part of the new funding.
And BSkyB, in which the media giant owns about 40 percent, are separate.
As part of the deal, News Corp.s Chief Digital Officer Jon Miller will be joining the board.
The streaming stick is Roku’s first step in expanding its platform from streaming players to Smart TVs and other devices connected to the TV.
Wood also predicted the end of Blu Ray in 4 years at the recent “TV of Tomorrow Show” in San Francisco last month, as the industry and consumer trend is shifting to streaming devices and smart TVs.
But the future trend is that game consoles will decline, and inexpensive Smart TVs and streaming players will be on the rise.
Heres the official press release that is just going out: Roku Raises $45 Million from News Corporation, BSkyB and OthersStrategic Round Underscores Rokus Platform Lead as Content Distribution Moves to InternetSaratoga, Calif.
News Corporation, British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB), prior Roku venture investors Menlo Ventures and Globespan Capital Partners as well as an unnamed strategic investor joined the round.
The new relationships include both financial backing and business agreements that demonstrate the industry’s confidence in Roku as the leading distribution platform to bring streaming entertainment to mainstream consumers.
Roku will use the new capital to build further brand awareness through advertising, develop new international markets, and increase engineering and production to support sales growth of both hardware and digital media services on the platform including advertising, games, transactional and pay per view video as well as content packages.
In addition to its line of popular and award winning Roku streaming players, the company will launch the Roku Streaming Stick this fall – a wireless, dongle sized streaming device that seamlessly integrates with newer TVs and consumer electronics devices.
TVs, game consoles, Blu ray players, and even mobile devices are quickly conspiring to engender a very competitive market for the digital living room.
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.
Rokus 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.
As an innovative content company were committed to embracing a wide range of complementary platforms to create more choice and flexibility for customers, said BSkyB Chief Financial Officer Andrew Griffith.
Coupled with the on going strength of satellite distribution, online and mobile help us unlock even more value for customers.
Our philosophy is to give consumers the best streaming TV experience, with the most content and at the best value in the market; and it has served us well as millions of consumers have brought Roku into their homes, said Roku Founder and Chief Executive Officer Anthony Wood.
Roku launched the first player to stream Netflix to the TV in 2008, and today stream more than 500 entertainment channels to millions of customers.
With the News Corporation and Sky strategic relationships, we are poised to further grow our leadership position and to become the TV distribution platform of the future.
On the other hand, it is launching its second generation of Google TV platforms (including the well priced and impressively spec’ed Vizio Co Star) where it tries to bring more content relationships and a better ecosystem.
Amy Unwin is a business journalist based in Sydney, Australia. Amy has a passion for financial markets and breaking news stories and loves writing about business news, stock market, and economic opinions that matters most to its audience. Amy spends a lot of time discovering and researching latest financial markets and industry news stories in order to make sure the latest and greatest stories are brought to you first on BigBoardNews.com.