Roku Issues Warning Messages to Those Adding Private Channels
Set-top box company Roku has begun issuing warning messages to users who add private channels to their service. While not widely known, Roku users can add access to private channels after signing in through a browser. These channels require a code for access, and are often used to stream pirated or adult video.
Two days ago, TorrentFreak broke the news that people adding codes for private channels (called "non-certified channels" by Roku) now get a warning message saying the Roku platform is only to be used for legal content, and infringing channels may be removed without notice. Users are still able to add the channels, however.
Roku told the site it's actively working to combat piracy, and will disable channels. With Roku considering going public later this year, some have speculated this is as a way for the company to deal with a potential problem ahead of time. In June, Mexico banned sales of Roku devices due to the availability of private channels.
Roku created private channels to let developers test offerings before making them public. TechCrunch reports that some services are ending support for Roku due to the crackdowns.
When asked, Roku did not respond to written questions from StreamingMedia.com, saying executives were offsite and unavailable. Instead, it offered a statement that includes the following, "Roku’s policies prohibit streaming content on our platform without distribution rights from the copyright holder. We are actively cooperating with the content community and other rights holders in their efforts to combat piracy."
Roku recently announced that it has 15 million active monthly users.
While customers currently need a Roku box or stick, or a licensed Roku TV, to stream from its channels, soon they might only need a mobile app.
Roku boxes have taken the lead with consumers and the company seems well-poised for an IPO, but financial disclosures show the company has never turned a profit.
Roku and Amazon have had a successful year and increased their share of the U.S. broadband market, while Apple and Google have lost ground.
This is a good time to plan an IPO: Roku has risen to become the most popular video streaming device, while the Apple TV falls farther and farther behind.
Brands and publishers will be able to target viewers and measure results using the same campaign metrics they get with other platforms.
Publishers can add their content to Roku's cross-app search and discovery system, and have Roku manage all video ad sales.