Roku, Inc. (ROKU) has announced the arrival of “The Roku Channel” in the UK, a streaming channel providing consumers with free access to 10.000+ movies, TV episodes and documentaries. Boosted by a strong stock market session, ROKU shares surged 10% on Monday, bringing the year-to-date loss to 33%.
There are no subscriptions or fees required to access The Roku Channel, but the programs will be interspersed with ads. Consumers must also own either a Roku streaming player, Roku TV, NOW TV device or Sky Q box.
The UK Roku Channel will feature popular global and British TV series, alongside a special Kids & Family section. According to the press release, Roku has teamed up with over 40 content partners, including Hollywood studios such as Lionsgate and Sony Pictures Television. More publishers are expected to be added over time.
“With The Roku Channel we are making it easy for consumers to find great free entertainment and provide additional value to Roku users, NOW TV device holders and Sky Q customers,” said Rob Holmes, VP of Programming at Roku. “Ad-supported viewing is one of the fastest growing categories on our platform and we are excited to meet the consumer demand for free TV.”
Overall, analysts are cautiously optimistic on the stock’s outlook. According to TipRanks, Roku has a consensus of Moderate Buy with a $131 average analyst price target (47% upside potential). (See Roku stock analysis on TipRanks)
“Lowering target to $110 from $165 on COVID-19 but maintaining Outperform, as ROKU is well positioned to gain long-term share of viewing and SVOD activations” commented Oppenheimer’s Jason Helfstein on April 1. He predicts strong streaming growth, but added that FY20 OTT advertising growth could be negatively impacted by 20%, with April and May the most impacted.
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