Netflix might buy Roku to fast track ad-supported tier

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,229   +158
Staff member
In brief: Netflix's recent woes could be short-lived should a rumor making the rounds come to fruition. Sources familiar with the matter told Business Insider that Roku employees have been buzzing in recent weeks about the possibility of an acquisition by streaming giant Netflix. Two people told the publication that Roku recently closed the trading window for employees, a move that prevents them from selling their vested stock.

Netflix recently said it was open to the possibility of launching an ad-supported tie. Sources last month said the company was hoping to launch the new tier as early as the fourth quarter of this year. Adding Roku to its portfolio would certainly help with that endeavor as the company has built a robust video advertising platform to go with its hardware devices.

Timing could play into Netflix's favor as well considering Roku's stock is down nearly 80 percent since last July. Netflix, meanwhile, has been dealing with its own issues including a quarterly loss of subscribers for the first time in a decade, declining share value, password sharing and waves of layoffs.

What's ironic about the whole situation is the fact that Roku and Netflix have a long history. Roku founder and CEO Anthony Wood developed a set-top box that Netflix planned to launch in the latter part of the 2000s. Just weeks before launch, Netflix boss Reed Hastings had a change of heart, scrapped the project and spun the business out.

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psycros

Posts: 4,234   +6,032
The Roku acquisition, if it happens, will be about two things: eliminating a competitor and getting hold of all that juicy private user data. Roku is infamous for selling out their customers to every spammer, hacker, bounty hunter and identify thief on Earth. You can't even use Roku-branded TVs until you give them an email address.
 

Vrmithrax

Posts: 1,598   +667
Any bets on how long it would take for Netflix to start locking down on Roku's external services and apps that aren't Netflix? I mean, they will literally be owners of one of the biggest hardware services that connect to pretty much every streaming service - they're not going to just sit there and watch Roku users stream their competition constantly. And why would other streaming services continue to support apps that might benefit one of their biggest competitor?

Maybe I'm just too cynical? Just picturing this deal being the kiss of death for Roku users (like me) as options on the platform suddenly start dwindling...
 

Neatfeatguy

Posts: 879   +1,517
I like watching the Roku channel. Don't let Netflix sour it....or worse, cancel it.

Netflix still needs to fix their binge watching mentality for their content (and also stop creating shows, running them a season and canceling them). Look at Stranger Things new season - 7 episodes. Each episode was an hour+ and you could have just watched them all in half a day.

What is wrong with Netflix? Setup Stranger Things to air 1 episode every week on Friday nights. Then have another new series/show air 1 episode every week on Tuesday nights. Then every 3 or 4 weeks, drop in a new movie to release on a Sunday. This way you have new content coming out over the span of a couple months to keep viewers subbed.

Right now though you can sub Netflix, binge Stranger Things and cancel your sub. Then when the second half of the season comes out (I hear in July) you re-sub, binge and cancel.

To me, this doesn't seem complicated.
 

mrvco

Posts: 175   +172
Any bets on how long it would take for Netflix to start locking down on Roku's external services and apps that aren't Netflix? I mean, they will literally be owners of one of the biggest hardware services that connect to pretty much every streaming service - they're not going to just sit there and watch Roku users stream their competition constantly. And why would other streaming services continue to support apps that might benefit one of their biggest competitor?

Maybe I'm just too cynical? Just picturing this deal being the kiss of death for Roku users (like me) as options on the platform suddenly start dwindling...

Buying a Roku device wouldn't make much sense if it only supported Netflix. And if Netflix were to start pulling popular apps from the Roku platform, people would abandon Roku in droves for more versatile devices.

The only reason Roku is an appealing acquisition target now is because their stock has cratered over the last year. However acquiring Roku is still a very pricey pivot (or distraction) for Netflix away from their (until recently) successful business model.
 

comnut

Posts: 66   +30
If they are listening, how about making it easier to search????? In UK here , there is no easy way to find stuff..

Have a look how SKY TV does it, a lot more results!
 

m3tavision

Posts: 768   +590
I like watching the Roku channel. Don't let Netflix sour it....or worse, cancel it.

Netflix still needs to fix their binge watching mentality for their content (and also stop creating shows, running them a season and canceling them). Look at Stranger Things new season - 7 episodes. Each episode was an hour+ and you could have just watched them all in half a day.

What is wrong with Netflix? Setup Stranger Things to air 1 episode every week on Friday nights. Then have another new series/show air 1 episode every week on Tuesday nights. Then every 3 or 4 weeks, drop in a new movie to release on a Sunday. This way you have new content coming out over the span of a couple months to keep viewers subbed.

Right now though you can sub Netflix, binge Stranger Things and cancel your sub. Then when the second half of the season comes out (I hear in July) you re-sub, binge and cancel.

To me, this doesn't seem complicated.
U don't pay for nextflix by the day, it is per month. Stranger things came out this month and next month is the second season...

Most people binge watch because they have other things to do, if EVERY Fri they had to wait for a new episode then it would be like cable TV show and not Streaming...

Nobody is as neurotic to constantly turning services on/off for one show...
 

Neatfeatguy

Posts: 879   +1,517
U don't pay for nextflix by the day, it is per month. Stranger things came out this month and next month is the second season...

Most people binge watch because they have other things to do, if EVERY Fri they had to wait for a new episode then it would be like cable TV show and not Streaming...

Nobody is as neurotic to constantly turning services on/off for one show...
Yeah, no kidding you pay by the month. I know how it works. Netflix fails, however, at retaining people because they allow binge watching.

I know lots of people that only pay for streaming services when a show comes out they want to watch. Once they're done watching it they cancel their sub. Why pay for a service you don't use otherwise?

Streaming and cable are different, one is over the internet and the other isn't, hence why it's called streaming when you're using the internet to stream your video. You also can watch other content on demand through your streaming service - see something you like and you stream it anytime, anywhere through the service. Cable you are stuck with what they put on regardless of what you want to see.

Episodic series need to be stretched out over time to help keep people subbed. It can be done successfully. If there are a total of 10 episodes for a highly popular show, an episode a week means you have people tied in for 10 weeks (3 reoccurring payments) and not just one month. Netflix needs to learn how to do this by splitting up shows and movies to stagger them and keep a constant flow of new content to help retain subs.
 

DZillaXx

Posts: 533   +681
I like watching the Roku channel. Don't let Netflix sour it....or worse, cancel it.

Netflix still needs to fix their binge watching mentality for their content (and also stop creating shows, running them a season and canceling them). Look at Stranger Things new season - 7 episodes. Each episode was an hour+ and you could have just watched them all in half a day.

What is wrong with Netflix? Setup Stranger Things to air 1 episode every week on Friday nights. Then have another new series/show air 1 episode every week on Tuesday nights. Then every 3 or 4 weeks, drop in a new movie to release on a Sunday. This way you have new content coming out over the span of a couple months to keep viewers subbed.

Right now though you can sub Netflix, binge Stranger Things and cancel your sub. Then when the second half of the season comes out (I hear in July) you re-sub, binge and cancel.

To me, this doesn't seem complicated.

From a business model that may make sense.

But I hate watching content that comes out weekly.

I would rather just watch all in a short amount of time. A weekend Binge.

I've personally found netflix's content to be way better than any other network. Cable networks have always been trash, so there really isn't anything good out of those. HBO can make some great shows, but most of their content is a little too network TV for me.

Honestly so far my second favorite content provider has been Amazon, sure they don't put out as much. But The Boys, Jack Ryan, Racher, the Expanse, Man in High Castle, Bosch, the tick, etc have all been great. I just wish we got more.

I also have paramount plus, Peacock, and Hulu. There is not a lot of good content on these networks IMO. I know content on some of these platforms vibe more with their tastes, especially the female groups. But if I was Netflix or Amazon, I wouldn't worry about loosing market share.

Disney plus releases so little content, that if it wasn't for Marvel and Starwars the network would be pointless to sub to every month.

Cost IMO is not the issue here. It is cheap for what you get, and it hands down has been the greatest content provider of the last decade.

Netflix's growth will resume.

But nothing is going to stop people from jumping between subscriptions, or sharing accounts. People who are broke are not going to magically start paying for stuff they can't already afford. They will either turn to piracy or go without..
 

Aceseven

Posts: 315   +398
I miss cable now.

sure it cost, but everything was just there, and streaming is reaching those same prices and probably higher anyway.

all these ideas that people strike up for netflix to use, guess what? cable already did them. I dont wanna be a research scientist to find where a show is to watch I just want to flip to a channel and watch it again.
 

m3tavision

Posts: 768   +590
Yeah, no kidding you pay by the month. I know how it works. Netflix fails, however, at retaining people because they allow binge watching.

I know lots of people that only pay for streaming services when a show comes out they want to watch. Once they're done watching it they cancel their sub. Why pay for a service you don't use otherwise?

Streaming and cable are different, one is over the internet and the other isn't, hence why it's called streaming when you're using the internet to stream your video. You also can watch other content on demand through your streaming service - see something you like and you stream it anytime, anywhere through the service. Cable you are stuck with what they put on regardless of what you want to see.

Episodic series need to be stretched out over time to help keep people subbed. It can be done successfully. If there are a total of 10 episodes for a highly popular show, an episode a week means you have people tied in for 10 weeks (3 reoccurring payments) and not just one month. Netflix needs to learn how to do this by splitting up shows and movies to stagger them and keep a constant flow of new content to help retain subs.
Netflix is fail because they lost Marvel and canceled all their decent series for ultra-cheap Asian fliks and movies/shows nobody cares about Except Stranger Things.

These Service would NOT be called "Streaming" if you couldn't binge watch them.

Nobody would pay for the services you are talking about (once a week shows) because that is what cable TV offers and what the Consumer doesn't want.. They want to binge.

They are suppose to offer enough shows that you can't binge them all per month.. But (again) Netflix dropped 80% of their American shows and lost its retention.

Netflix STOPPED paying millions for good actors and writers and shows and went wonky-woke... Now they are broke.
 

m3tavision

Posts: 768   +590
I miss cable now.

sure it cost, but everything was just there, and streaming is reaching those same prices and probably higher anyway.

all these ideas that people strike up for netflix to use, guess what? cable already did them. I dont wanna be a research scientist to find where a show is to watch I just want to flip to a channel and watch it again.
Buy a Roku box and u have a modern cable box.. Everything in one place.
 

DZillaXx

Posts: 533   +681
I miss cable now.

sure it cost, but everything was just there, and streaming is reaching those same prices and probably higher anyway.

all these ideas that people strike up for netflix to use, guess what? cable already did them. I dont wanna be a research scientist to find where a show is to watch I just want to flip to a channel and watch it again.
That seems like a old person mentality.

I grew up with cable. And for over 20 years I've noticed one thing. There was never anything I really wanted to watch when I wanted to watch it. And users were pretty much forced to DVR or use On Demand if they wanted some choice. Otherwise Cable has no choice, you watched what was on it that time slot. I hated it, and I still hate it. I got rid of cable 5 years ago and never plan on going back. I hate the idea of channels and pre determined time slots. Watch what you want to watch, not what someone else wants you to watch. Channels are a bunch of different options of someone else's choice of content.

For a long time now I've felt that Cable companies need to spin down the old cable channels. Free up the bandwidth for something more worth while. There is no reason why instead of Channels you just have list of networks, and you can pick the content you want to watch. Pretty much How it works now on streaming apps. But without crap ton of logins and a single UI that ties everything together.

There is a big reason why cable has been left to rot. People like freedom, Cable worked back in the day as that is what the technology was limited too. Choice was not an option. By the time they moved to a digital only signal (Late 2000s/early 2010s) they could have easily started rolling out such moves. In the 2000s Cable companies brought OnDamand, which was the start but the library was never quite there.

The only thing keeping people on Cable is sports, even if that is Cable over a streaming app like youtube TV. Nearly anyone I speak to only keeps cable around for Sports it seems like. Moving Sports out of a $60+ Cable Sub will be the next big game changer.
 

ilovetohateyou

Posts: 23   +2
I like watching the Roku channel. Don't let Netflix sour it....or worse, cancel it.

Netflix still needs to fix their binge watching mentality for their content (and also stop creating shows, running them a season and canceling them). Look at Stranger Things new season - 7 episodes. Each episode was an hour+ and you could have just watched them all in half a day.

What is wrong with Netflix? Setup Stranger Things to air 1 episode every week on Friday nights. Then have another new series/show air 1 episode every week on Tuesday nights. Then every 3 or 4 weeks, drop in a new movie to release on a Sunday. This way you have new content coming out over the span of a couple months to keep viewers subbed.

Right now though you can sub Netflix, binge Stranger Things and cancel your sub. Then when the second half of the season comes out (I hear in July) you re-sub, binge and cancel.

To me, this doesn't seem complicated.
No one wants to go back to watching stuff on a broadcast schedule rather than their own schedule.
 

ilovetohateyou

Posts: 23   +2
Netflix is fail because they lost Marvel and canceled all their decent series for ultra-cheap Asian fliks and movies/shows nobody cares about Except Stranger Things.

These Service would NOT be called "Streaming" if you couldn't binge watch them.

Nobody would pay for the services you are talking about (once a week shows) because that is what cable TV offers and what the Consumer doesn't want.. They want to binge.

They are suppose to offer enough shows that you can't binge them all per month.. But (again) Netflix dropped 80% of their American shows and lost its retention.

Netflix STOPPED paying millions for good actors and writers and shows and went wonky-woke... Now they are broke.
Your point was well said until you said that they paid millions--Netflix paid tens of billions for licensing and developing content. Especially developing content. Record numbers. And much of the popular American content that they lost was because the copyright holders decided to get into the streaming game, and because studios started to value streaming and not let Netflix license content so cheaply.

Netflix thrived because it was the only real player and because it had a massive library of others' content below its actual value. That's why they sunk tens of billions into new content. Netflix didn't become cheap and unwilling to pay for or develop content. It just costs more to license others' stuff, and the amount of money Netflix was sinking into development was out of proportion with their revenue--it was never a baseline, just a rash of creation so that there were a trove of content that no competitor could deny them access to when the licensing agreements ended.

And your comment about "wonky-woke," okay, bud. Sure.
 

m3tavision

Posts: 768   +590
Your point was well said until you said that they paid millions--Netflix paid tens of billions for licensing and developing content. Especially developing content. Record numbers. And much of the popular American content that they lost was because the copyright holders decided to get into the streaming game, and because studios started to value streaming and not let Netflix license content so cheaply.

Netflix thrived because it was the only real player and because it had a massive library of others' content below its actual value. That's why they sunk tens of billions into new content. Netflix didn't become cheap and unwilling to pay for or develop content. It just costs more to license others' stuff, and the amount of money Netflix was sinking into development was out of proportion with their revenue--it was never a baseline, just a rash of creation so that there were a trove of content that no competitor could deny them access to when the licensing agreements ended.

And your comment about "wonky-woke," okay, bud. Sure.
Netflix CEO admitted they went too woke... Sent a letter to staff they will no longer cater to Netflix employees social whims and if they do not like Netflix's new direction they can quit...
 

ilovetohateyou

Posts: 23   +2
Netflix CEO admitted they went too woke... Sent a letter to staff they will no longer cater to Netflix employees social whims and if they do not like Netflix's new direction they can quit...
Weird, the word "woke" does not appear anywhere in the memo that he sent.

Using "woke" says more about your post than it does your subject.
 

m3tavision

Posts: 768   +590
Weird, the word "woke" does not appear anywhere in the memo that he sent.

Using "woke" says more about your post than it does your subject.
Correct, woke means "joke politics" based on fragile feelings and the CEO stated he isn't going to deal with self-important people.