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Video: How to Build a Roku Channel
In Part 1 of this two-part Roku Direct Publisher demo, Roku's Bill Shapiro provides a step-by-step guide to building a channel to reach an audience.

Roku Director of Product Management Bill Shapiro delivers a detailed demo on how to develop a Roku channel using Roku's Direct Publisher module in Part 1 of this 2-part series. Part 2 focuses on how to monetize your content on Roku.

Read the complete transcript of this demo:

Bill Shapiro: In this demo I’ll explain how Direct Publisher works, and actually build a channel using Direct Publisher.

I'll go to the Roku developer site. Anyone can sign up for a developer account and publish their own channel on Roku. I'll go ahead and create a channel using ... And I'll choose the Direct Publisher option here. I'll call this "Demo for Streaming Media West 2016."


Now I provide some basic information about the channel I want to create. What are the channel stores that I want to publish that in. You can publish in any of our retail channel stores, as well as you can publish in different languages. Then you need to specify whether your app is directed at children or not and a few other things.


You can also specify a vanity code if you want. If I want to have a simple to remember code that I can give out to folks to install my channel ... So I can say like "Streaming Media West 2016" if no one has used that one yet. Then I can give out that code and anyone, on my website or elsewhere, and people can go ahead and install that channel on Roku.


I now need to provide a feed. This is the most critical step for Direct Publisher. A feed is essentially contains a list of all of essentially your content catalog. This can be an MRSS feed, you're familiar with that, which is a widely used standard. Then we have our own feed format, which provides a much richer set of things that you can do. I'll provide my feed URL, which in this case is an MRSS feed. Then I'll specify the content type.


After doing that, I now need to brand my channel, so provide my logo, my colors, that kind of thing. I'll go ahead and do that. We use an example channel here. I'll provide my logo, and a splash screen for when the application starts.


Then, as I mentioned, by using Direct Publisher, you automatically get into Roku's universal search. I will provide a link to the play button. When someone searches for something, and wants to play that content on your channel, this is the thing that they will press within the Roku UI.


Then I can either provide a background color, or a background image. In this case, I'll use a background image. I could choose to have a cool color overlay, or I can also choose to just use that image as is. I can control my text color, the highlight color. Maybe I'd probably pick the exact hex value for my brand, but I'll be a little lazy here and pick one of the default ones. Then the progress color, which is the color for the progress bar.


Now I've picked all that. I can preview what my channel will look like. This is essentially what the branding for the channel will look like. This is one of our content partners that has launched on Direct Publisher. You can see the branding, the text, the highlight color, et cetera. I can also see what my splash screen will look like. That all looks great.


Continue and it will upload all of those assets to us, which will take a moment. One thing you noticed when I showed the preview, is it had the branding, but it didn't show any content. The next thing we'll do once those assets get uploaded is I need to specify the categories for my content.


By default, we have a few categories that we will automatically generate for you if you want them. Things like "continue watching", so if you've starting watching a series, you're able to continue, or a movie, as well as things like "most popular" or the most popular content on your channel based on its usage on Roku, as well as the "most recently added content". I could just check those categorizes and they would show up.


I can, of course, also add my own categorizes. I'll add a couple of categories to my channel. This is a music app, so we have some interviews with musicians. That's the tile of the category. Now I need to say what it is the content that maps to that category.


In the feed, I had specified tags for each piece of content. Typically, the way it works is that if you already have a content managing system where you've uploaded your content, you probably already tagged it. We leveraging ideally those same tags that already exist with your content, you can leverage here as well.


I happen to have a tag called "interviews" for any content with interviews. Then I can use any selected tag, or I could also have an and of tags if I wanted to require that multiple tags be present.


Then I can specify the sort order for that category. Things like most recent first. I could also say I want it sorted by popularity, or I could have it in chronological order. If I want episode one, then episode two, then episode three, I could do it that way as well.


Then finally for some content, the thumbnail may or may not be very descriptive. I can choose whether to overlay the title on that thumbnail or not. In this case, I won't. I'll save that. Then I'll add another category, and we'll call this "concerts". I'll select the tag for concerts. Again, I have the same options I can specify. I would go ahead and create all the other categories for my channel as well.


Now I can preview that and see how it looks. Now I've got ... It's actually found all the content and maps to interviews and concerts, and shows you what that would look like. Now I have basically a great looking channel.


Now I'm mostly done. I will continue. Then I provide a little bit more information for our channel store. So the description that I want to show up in the channel store, what we call the app store. I can provide a channel poster. Select the category. In this case, it is music. I could provide a description. I'll skip that for now.


Essentially, I've gone ahead. I've created a channel. The branding is there, the content is there. Really, the only thing other than filling in a little bit of additional information is choosing how to monetize my content.

Bill Shapiro:                        In this demo I’ll explain how Direct Publisher works, and actually build a channel using Direct Publisher.

                                                I'll go to the Roku developer site. Anyone can sign up for a developer account and publish their own channel on Roku. I'll go ahead and create a channel using ... And I'll choose the Direct Publisher option here. I'll call this "Demo for Streaming Media West 2016."

                                                Now I provide some basic information about the channel I want to create. What are the channel stores that I want to publish that in. You can publish in any of our retail channel stores, as well as you can publish in different languages. Then you need to specify whether your app is directed at children or not and a few other things.

                                                You can also specify a vanity code if you want. If I want to have a simple to remember code that I can give out to folks to install my channel ... So I can say like "Streaming Media West 2016" if no one has used that one yet. Then I can give out that code and anyone, on my website or elsewhere, and people can go ahead and install that channel on Roku.

                                                I now need to provide a feed. This is the most critical step for Direct Publisher. A feed is essentially contains a list of all of essentially your content catalog. This can be an MRSS feed, you're familiar with that, which is a widely used standard. Then we have our own feed format, which provides a much richer set of things that you can do. I'll provide my feed URL, which in this case is an MRSS feed. Then I'll specify the content type.

                                                After doing that, I now need to brand my channel, so provide my logo, my colors, that kind of thing. I'll go ahead and do that. We use an example channel here. I'll provide my logo, and a splash screen for when the application starts.

                                                Then, as I mentioned, by using Direct Publisher, you automatically get into Roku's universal search. I will provide a link to the play button. When someone searches for something, and wants to play that content on your channel, this is the thing that they will press within the Roku UI.

                                                Then I can either provide a background color, or a background image. In this case, I'll use a background image. I could choose to have a cool color overlay, or I can also choose to just use that image as is. I can control my text color, the highlight color. Maybe I'd probably pick the exact hex value for my brand, but I'll be a little lazy here and pick one of the default ones. Then the progress color, which is the color for the progress bar.

                                                Now I've picked all that. I can preview what my channel will look like. This is essentially what the branding for the channel will look like. This is one of our content partners that has launched on Direct Publisher. You can see the branding, the text, the highlight color, et cetera. I can also see what my splash screen will look like. That all looks great.

                                                Continue and it will upload all of those assets to us, which will take a moment. One thing you noticed when I showed the preview, is it had the branding, but it didn't show any content. The next thing we'll do once those assets get uploaded is I need to specify the categories for my content.

                                                By default, we have a few categories that we will automatically generate for you if you want them. Things like "continue watching", so if you've starting watching a series, you're able to continue, or a movie, as well as things like "most popular" or the most popular content on your channel based on its usage on Roku, as well as the "most recently added content". I could just check those categorizes and they would show up.

                                                I can, of course, also add my own categorizes. I'll add a couple of categories to my channel. This is a music app, so we have some interviews with musicians. That's the tile of the category. Now I need to say what it is the content that maps to that category.

                                                In the feed, I had specified tags for each piece of content. Typically, the way it works is that if you already have a content managing system where you've uploaded your content, you probably already tagged it. We leveraging ideally those same tags that already exist with your content, you can leverage here as well.

                                                I'll go ahead. I happen to have a tag called "interviews" for any content with interviews. Then I can use any selected tag, or I could also have an and of tags if I wanted to require that multiple tags be present.

                                                Then I can specify the sort order for that category. Things like most recent first. I could also say I want it sorted by popularity, or I could have it in chronological order. If I want episode one, then episode two, then episode three, I could do it that way as well.

                                                Then finally for some content, the thumbnail may or may not be very descriptive. I can choose whether to overlay the title on that thumbnail or not. In this case, I won't. I'll save that. Then I'll add another category, and we'll call this "concerts". I'll select the tag for concerts. Again, I have the same options I can specify. I would go ahead and create all the other categories for my channel as well.

                                                Now I can preview that and see how it looks. Now I've got ... It's actually found all the content and maps to interviews and concerts, and shows you what that would look like. Now I have basically a great looking channel.

                                                Now I'm mostly done. I will continue. Then I provide a little bit more information for our channel store. So the description that I want to show up in the channel store, what we call the app store. I can provide a channel poster. Select the category. In this case, it is music. I could provide a description. I'll skip that for now.

                                                Essentially, I've gone ahead. I've created a channel. The branding is there, the content is there. Really, the only thing other than filling in a little bit of additional information is choosing how to monetize my content. 

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