Roku's content partners accuse service of 'acting like a cable company'

Now that they've built substantial audiences, Roku's more successful content publishers are apparently shocked--shocked!--that the OTT service is getting more aggressive in its demand for revenue-sharing.

In fact, according to a GigaOm report, one Roku content provider made an accusation that amounts to damnation on the self-satisfied streets of Silicon Valley: Roku, the publisher told the tech blog, is "acting like a cable company."

Ouch?

GigaOm's Janko Roettgers says he talked to "a number" of Roku content providers, all of whom spoke anonymously. They said Roku reps are now aggressively seeking greater shares of advertising, subscription and transactional revenue.

"Any time a business is becoming more material on revenue, the partnership gets more sophisticated than the [initial] click-through agreement," Stephen Shannon, general manager and senior VP of content and services for Roku, told GigaOm.

Roku currently touts a growing list of about 1,800 channels, ranging from huge SVOD services like Netflix to small mom-and-pop-backed apps. Deal structures, meanwhile, vary widely among publishers.

Roku has become the leading seller in the U.S. of over-the-top boxes, but its most important revenue source is its platform. And while Shannon told GigaOm Roku wouldn't kick out publishers who don't agree to share more revenue, he didn't say the service wouldn't deprive these content providers of needed promotion.

"If you are not promoted on Roku, it's hard to get an audience," Shannon said.

For more:
- read this GigaOm story

Related links:
Roku reaches 10 million in U.S. sales … but who is No. 1 in OTT?
Roku set to undercut, disrupt smart TV market
Parks: Roku owns 44% of the U.S. OTT device market

Read more on