Roku announced late Wednesday that it has secured $45 million in additional funding from new investors News Corporation and BSkyB as well as existing investors Menlo Ventures and Globespan Capital Partners. The round, which brings the total amount of money raised by Roku to date to $77 million, also included an unnamed strategic investor. News Corp. Chief Digital Officer Jon Miller will join Roku’s board.
Roku had first told Reuters this spring that it needed more funding for further international expansion, and that it was looking to raise as much as $50 million. The company started selling its set-top box in Canada in April, and launched its international expansion with a market entry in the U.K. earlier this year.
UK pay-TV leader BSkyB’s new over-the-top internet TV service Now TV will be delivered over Roku and other boxes. Through this partnership, Sky may be replicating the model in which it currently has set-top boxes in subscribers’ homes, but over broadband rather than satellite.
We recently broke the news that an expansion to Germany and Spain seems to be imminent; Roku’s website briefly contained code that hinted at a presence in both countries, and the most recent firmware update supports both German and Spanish as user interface languages. Roku hasn’t officially commented on when it will enter either market, but it’s likely that the yet-unnamed strategic investor has a presence there.
The significant investment from News Corp. and BSkyB also signals that Roku is getting more serious about becoming a solution for pay TV operators interested in Internet-based video delivery. The company recently launched a cooperation with satellite provider Dish to carry the company’s DishWorld IPTV service. Roku hinted at the possibility of sealing similar TV subscription package deals in the future its funding press release, saying that it wants to use part of the funding to add more services to the platform, “including advertising, games, transactional and pay-per-view video as well as content packages.”