Roku expands its TV licensing program to Europe

Roku TV today represents more than 1 in 3 smart TVs sold in the U.S. Now, the company is bringing its TV licensing program to European markets. At the consumer tech show IFA in Berlin, Roku announced it will now allow manufacturers to license its TV reference designs and use its Roku OS to build smart TVs for sale in Europe. It also said Hisense would be its first European Roku TV partner.

Today, the connected TV market is no longer limited to just the dongles, sticks, and streaming media players that plug into the HDMI ports of consumers’ TV sets.

Top companies like Roku, Google and Amazon are also making their operating systems and reference designs available to TV makers themselves, in a battle to gain consumer market share. Apple has been rumored to be working on its own television set powered by tvOS, as well.

Roku, to date, done well on this front in its home market, after first introducing the Roku TV platform at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2014. Hisense was then one of its first partners on the effort. Fast-forward to 2019, and there are now over 100 models available from over 10 brands in North America, and the company estimates that Roku TV is now the No. 1 selling smart TV OS in the U.S.

Roku isn’t alone in targeting Europe with its TV platform. Amazon this week announced more than 20 new Fire TV devices, 15 of which were TVs licensing its Fire OS. Many of these were also aimed at European consumers through partnerships with local brands and retailers.

The new Hisense Roku TV models will support 4K Ultra HD resolutions and HDR, and will come in sizes ranging up to 65 inches, Roku says. The models will launch in the U.K. in the fourth quarter.

“While consumers love Roku TV’s simplicity and advance features, TV manufacturers benefit from the low manufacturing cost, a variety of technology options, and support from Roku,” said Roku CEO and Founder Anthony Wood, in a statement. “The ability to quickly bring to market a leading smart TV experience that is regularly updated by Roku and is packed with entertainment gives TV manufacturers an edge in the competitive TV business. We are pleased to bring the Roku TV licensing program to Europe and look forward to the first Hisense Roku TVs in market this year,” he said.


Nielsen: Americans are streaming 8 billion hours of content per month on connected TVs

With the rise of streaming services and the trend towards cord cutting, the way U.S. consumers are watching video is also changing. Today, over two-thirds of U.S. homes have devices that are able to stream video, according to Nielsen . In a new report out this morning, the measurement firm looked at the impact these services are having on the “connected living room” experience, noting also that Americans are now streaming nearly 8 billion hours per month on connected TV devices like Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV.

What’s more, is that consumers ages 13 to 34 will spend twice the time streaming when watching on connected TV devices, compared with watching on the computer or mobile devices.

Specifically, Nielsen says that consumers 13 and up were streaming an average of more than an hour per day, versus 36 minutes on the computer and 24 minutes on mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets.

The firm also noted there’s an opportunity for live TV networks to better reach a younger demographic by making more of their video content available through connected TV devices.

Today, only 3 percent of live TV viewers across the top 5 TV networks are between the ages of 18 and 24 – an implication that the youngest consumers have turned away from traditional TV viewing.

Meanwhile, 8 percent of that demographic watches content through a connected device.

“This is a major opportunity for TV publishers to amplify their content that premiered on live TV and maximize their reach by extending the programming to be seen on connected devices,” Nielsen explained.

Despite the overall growth in over-the-top video streaming, linear TV still dominates, the firm notes. Traditional live TV viewing still accounts for the majority of viewers’ time, it said.