Roku, AOL To Co-Launch News Channel

Consumers’ shifting content viewing habits continue to make strange bedfellows. On Thursday, AOL and set-top-box start-up Roku are expected to co-launch a news channel.
Produced by AOL’s editorial team, the video channel will reside on Roku’s home screen and will feature original fare as well as content aggregated from more than 1,000 publishers, including The Wall Street Journal, The Associated Press and Reuters.

The integrated news service should be available free of charge in the U.S. on the new Roku LT, Roku 1 and Roku 2 players. It is slated to automatically roll out as a free software update in the coming weeks to all current-generation Roku devices.
Simply put, the point of such partnerships is to increase AOL’s distribution footprint, according to Rob DelaCruz, general manager of Connected TV and Mobile Video at AOL.
It’s about “making our library of premium videos available to consumers on every screen,” DelaCruz told Online Media Daily on Wednesday. He and an AOL representative declined to discuss the financial terms of the partnership.
Among other distribution partnerships, the AOL On app is already available on Samsung and Sony’s connected TVs, TiVo and Boxee.
Calling the Roku deal unique, however, an AOL representative said: “We’ve created apps across 14 different connected TV platforms, but this is our first integrated news experience.”
Most research shows that “over the top” devices, from gaming consoles to set-top boxes like Roku, are gaining traction with consumers.
Last year, Roku held 21% of the streaming device market -- second only to Apple and its 56% share -- according to a Frost & Sullivan report released this summer.
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