Rapunzel, Winnie the Pooh and the Jonas Brothers are coming to Roku, courtesy of a new Disney channel launched Wednesday morning. The channel serves up free short form content from Disney.com, including animated shorts, movie trailers and music videos. This is a significant partnership for Roku; having the Disney brand on board will help the company to attract customers during this year’s holiday buying season.
The Roku Disney channel will serve up “hundreds of videos” from Disney’s web presence, according to a press release issued by the company. The video content will be made available for free, and Disney will serve ads on the channel.
Roku’s VP of business development Jim Funk explained during a phone call earlier this week that the partnership with Disney was a significant achievement for his company. “It’s a milestone for us,” he told me.
Not only is Roku the first connected device that this content will be made available on. The Disney brand will also be valuable advertising for Roku. Funk said that Roku will promote the Disney channel aggressively both to existing as well as new users. This will include use of the Disney logo, which will be displayed on Roku’s website as well as on its retail packaging alongside the logos of existing Roku partners like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.
Roku isn’t the only company in this space that’s looking to kids content to make its offering more attractive. Netflix recently rolled out a dedicated kids section on its website to address this audience. Funk said that the Disney channel is the biggest kids-specific offering on Roku’s platform to date, but he didn’t rule out getting more kids content on the box. “We are actively going to be watching how this does,” he told me.