Roku Wisely Rebrands Its Soon-to-Debut Quibi Content as ‘Roku Originals’

Roku Wisely Rebrands Its Soon-to-Debut Quibi Content as ‘Roku Originals’
Photo: Catie Keck/Gizmodo

Quibi content acquired by Roku earlier this year will henceforth be known as Roku Originals, a move that should mercifully allow all of us to move on from the memory of Quibi’s spectacular implosion.

When the haul of 75 originals debuts on the platform, they will be ad-supported and free to stream on the Roku Channel. Roku says that the titles include a dozen previously unreleased series. It’s unclear specifically when Roku plans to launch its originals slate on the service, and the company would say only that they would be available to stream “soon.” A spokesperson declined to provide a more specific launch date.

Roku Originals will not be limited to just the content produced by Quibi, however. The company said that its “originals” title would also be used for “future original programming” for its ad-supported streaming service. That scans with clues that Roku was looking to compete more aggressively against rival streaming services by expanding the originals slate on its platform. In February, a LinkedIn job listing for a Lead Production Attorney stated that the role would work on Roku’s “expanding slate of original content.”

It also follows the introduction of Roku’s first exclusive series, Cypher, which debuted on the Roku Channel last month. That series was not a Roku original, as the company acquired the rights to stream it exclusively in the U.S. and Canada rather than produce the show itself. A spokesperson told Gizmodo at the time that the acquisition is part of a “broader AVOD content strategy that will continue to drive the growth of The Roku Channel going forward.”

Roku’s streaming devices are immensely popular and extremely affordable solutions for cutting the cord. While Roku has said publicly in the past that it did not have plans to produce originals. But it very much seemed the platform was headed that direction with its acquisition of the Quibi catalogue in January. After all, many of Quibi’s shows were meant to be multi-season franchises, including both Most Dangerous Game and Reno 911!, which had both been renewed for second seasons before Quibi crashed and burned last October.

When Quibi’s shows — forgive me, Roku Originals — do appear on the platform, they will no longer stream in that weird, multi-format mode that was pivotal to Quibi’s sales pitch for its service. Roku didn’t bother picking up Quibi’s proprietary Turnstyle technology or infrastructure, meaning we will not be prompted to physically move our phones or televisions to stream a series from multiple perspectives. And you know what? I’m good with that.