While The Roku Channel’s core content is free, users have the option to pay for premium providers like HBO and Nickelodeon’s Noggin; if they do, those providers’ kid-friendly content will automatically appear in the Kids & Family section. The free content is ad-supported, although there are considerably fewer ads than on traditional tv, and ads are all vetted to ensure that they are age-appropriate. Lego has signed up as the kids channel’s first advertising sponsor.
The Kids & Family section is accessible in the U.S. through Roku devices, some smart televisions, and the channel’s webpage. The content is broken down by character, age group, and category, in an interface that resembles Netflix’s “kids” profiles. In addition, new controls have made it easier for parents to restrict what their children watch.
Roku is already the market leader in streaming devices, outstripping Amazon, Google, and Apple. The company is now focused on expanding its programming, having launched The Roku Channel in 2017. It has more than 30 million active users, and that number is growing fast.
However, some key providers of kids’ shows and movies, including Netflix and Hulu, are refusing to partner with Roku, as they prefer to collect their own data and maintain total control over the user experience. In a sign of Roku’s wider ambitions, Rob Holmes, vice president of programming, told Kidscreen that the company would consider commissioning and licensing its own content if its user base keeps growing.
According to TechCrunch, Roku says it will collect “non-user level data” from the Kids & Family section, in order track the popularity of different kinds of content. But it won’t go further and start targeting children with ads or bespoke recommendations.