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The Roku Channel signs deal with Lionsgate

The Roku Channel is getting a big leg up in 2022, having reached a multiyear deal with Lionsgate that will allow the free, ad-supported channel to stream theatrically released films beginning later this year.

And one of the first flicks will be none other than John Wick: Chapter 4. Other movies slated for The Roku Channel include Expendables 4, Borderlands, Wonder, White Bird: A Wonder Story, and Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, as well as the recently released The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent.

The Roku Channel on a Roku TV./
Phil Nickinson/Digital Trends

“This agreement affirms the great demand for first-run studio movies across a broad array of platforms,” Lionsgate President of Worldwide Television Distribution Jim Packer said in a press release. “This partnership with The Roku Channel shows our ability to capitalize on opportunities in today’s complex television landscape with a multifaceted, layered approach that meets everyone’s needs.”

The deal won’t make The Roku Channel the exclusive home for Lionsgate films — and they’ll still get first billing on the premium STARZ service, in addition to being available on the usual digital marketplaces. But it’s still a big deal for Roku, which has put a lot of heft behind The Roku Channel in the past few years. It has prime placement within the Roku operating system, but also is available in web browsers, on iOS and Android, on Amazon Fire TV, and on select Samsung TVs.

Roku in its fourth-quarter earnings announcement for 2021 said that The Roku Channel was the No. 1 free ad-supported linear streaming channel on the platform, reaching households with an estimated 80 million people. Streaming hours more than doubled year over year.

And getting big-name movies while they’re still relatively fresh in their life cycle should be a huge win, too.

“We are pleased to expand our relationship with our long-standing partner Lionsgate to provide our audience with exclusive first-time, free access to Lionsgate’s theatrical slate,” said Rob Holmes, vice president of programming for Roku. “This innovative approach creates value for both parties, and most importantly provides the millions of streamers on The Roku Channel with the opportunity to enjoy these compelling titles via this unique window.”

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