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Roku Gets $45M In Funding From News Corp, BSkyB

Streaming video set-top box Roku has secured $45 million in additional funding from new investors News Corp. and BSkyB, along with existing investors Menlo Ventures and Globespan Capital Partners. As part of the deal, News Corp. Chief Digital Officer Jon Miller is also joining Roku’s board.

“This round of financing is a big deal for the streaming device maker,” assures The Verge.

“It might seem odd for names associated with older video-distribution methods to team up with Roku,” The Wall Street Journal’s Digits blog writes. “But the world is changing quickly.”

“When Roku first entered the streaming video market, it was seen as a boon for cord cutters, who could watch streaming content from online distributors like Netflix and Hulu Plus on TV,” TechCrunch recalls. “But lately, it’s begun courting app makers from traditional content producers, securing apps for premium networks like HBO and working with pay TV providers like DISH to bring their content over-the-top.”

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As such, “the significant investment from News Corp. and BSkyB also signals that Roku is getting more serious about becoming a solution for pay TV operators interested in Internet-based video delivery,” GigaOm comments.

Also of note, the investment follows the recent launch of Now TV, BSkyB's Web service, “which will allow viewers to access Sky programming without a dish,” The Telegraph writes.

According to CNet: “Roku will use the funding to promote brand awareness, launch new advertising campaigns and enter new markets.”

“It also said it will be launching the Roku Streaming Stick this fall, which it previously announced,” AllThingsD notes. “It is a ‘wireless, dongle-sized streaming device that seamlessly integrates with newer TVs and consumer electronics devices.’”

Gizmodo, for one, likes Roku’s chances. “The Roku is a hell of a media streamer,” it writes. “Its only real competitor is the Apple TV, but it costs half as much. No brainer.”

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