It’s official: Quibi’s pricey programming slate will live on at Roku.
As previously reported, Roku has acquired exclusive global rights to 75 of the now-defunct streaming service’s shows in a deal that The Wall Street Journal says was priced at “significantly less” than $100 million. The content will arrive on Roku’s in-house Roku Channel later this year.
Deadline notes that the acquisition marks Roku’s biggest move yet into original programming, and comprises most of Quibi’s library — including the Liam Hemsworth-starring Most Dangerous Game and horror home improvement series Murder House Flip — aside from select daily news shows. As negotiated by Quibi, rights for the shows will revert back to producers after seven years even after they transition to Roku. Quibi’s infrastructure and technology are not a part of the deal.
Programming will be available for free and distributed with ads on the Roku Channel — the smart TV service’s in-house channel and accompanying mobile and web app that hosts a rotating array of movies and TV shows, and which was watched by 61.8 million people in the fourth quarter of 2020. Deadline notes that the Roku Channel marks a different viewing medium than Quibi initially intended — quick bites on a mobile phone, as the company’s name portends — though Roku’s VP of programming, Rob Holmes, says this is somewhat immaterial given the sheer quality of Quibi’s portfolio.
“I think their premise was, you have 10 minutes, you would watch it,” Holmes told Deadline. “Our view is, this is TV, someone’s going to spend half an hour or an hour or two hours watching it because it’s just that compelling. You don’t usually see content like this for free in streaming.”
Quibi shuttered in a staggering six months despite raising $1.75 billion in capital to build a portfolio of snack-sized mobile content.
“The most creative and imaginative minds in Hollywood created groundbreaking content for Quibi that exceeded our expectations,” founder Jeffrey Katzenberg said in a statement. “We are thrilled that these stories, from the surreal to the sublime, have found a new home on The Roku Channel.”