Being a pipe is one thing but being a publisher adds a lot of value to a brand. That's why you see Netflix and Amazon producing their own movies and series. HBO and other premium channels did the same thing back in the early days of cable, establishing themselves as something more than just a distribution system.
Now Roku -- one of the early players in the streaming-video business -- is teaming up with AOL to produce a news channel that will be distributed through Roku's set-top boxes.
The companies said the news channel will include news videos from eight categories, including business, entertainment and technology. More than 1,000 premium publishers will also be contributing content, including the Wall Street Journal, BBCNews, HuffPost Live, The Associated Press and Reuters.
The integrated news service will be available free of charge in the U.S. on the new Roku LT, Roku 1 and Roku 2 players. It is slated to automatically roll out as a free software update in the coming weeks to all current-generation Roku devices.
"News is among the fastest growing categories on the Roku platform and this parntership pwith AOL makes it even easier for customers to find and starat watching a variety of news videos," said Steve Shannon, general manager of content for Roku. "This is the first ingrated news service on a TV streaming platform."