Roku Streamlines Publishing Platform

‘Direct Publisher’ enables partners to jump aboard without creating discrete apps
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Lowering some technical barriers associated with the onboarding process, Roku has launched a new publishing platform that enables content partners to offer content on its OTT platform without requiring them to create individual apps.

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Rather than building an app, partners for Roku’s new Direct Publisher solution now have the option to provide Roku a branded, content feed that can be published on the Roku platform using a Web editor, Bill Shapiro, director of product management for the Roku OS, explained.

That tool also gives partners the ability to control how their OTT channels are programmed on the Roku platform.  Shapiro estimates that the streamlined approach enables partners to start publishing on Roku’s platform in as little as a week.

Roku isn’t the only online platform that’s trying to make it easier for partners to get on board. Opera TV, for example, is trying to accelerate and simplify the process for its platform in the form of a new certification program (subscription required) for an HTML5-powered apps ecosystem for smart TVs, Blu-ray players and TiVo DVRs.

As an additional benefit, content delivered via Direct Publisher are also included on Roku’s universal search system without having to do any additional work. That will expand on the 100-plus channels that are currently tied into Roku’s search parameters.

In addition to making that content more easily discoverable through search, that content can also be featured in Roku’s My Feed system, which lets users track shows and movies and to be alerted when they become available through one of Roku’s channel partners.

For channel partners that use ad-based systems, Direct Publisher is also integrated with the Roku Audience Network, which gives 60% of the take to the content partner.  Roku said free, ad-supported viewing is the fastest growing segment on its platform.

Several partners have already taken advantage of Roku Direct Publisher, including Baeble Music, Cracked, FailArmy, Mashable, Rolling Stone, Us Weekly and XLTV by XLrator Media.  The new system is also supported by third-party OVPs such as Brightcove, JW Player, Kaltura and Ooyala, said Roku, which today supports more than 3,500 apps/channels on its platform.

Shapiro said Roku will continue to support the SDK model for content partners that require custom-built apps.

According to Roku, growth profit from its media and licensing business has surpassed that from the streaming player portion of its business.