(Cybertech) – The Roku Channel has slated in its first piece of original programming, just a few months after acquiring the rights to failed startup Qubi’s library.
The streaming giant acquired 75 shows in the deal with Quibi, and the debut arrival, Cypher, will be available for free on 19 March to those in the US and Canada.
However, though it’s a considerable step forward for Roku, the company has noted that the show is a licensed programme, and not, in its view, a true bit of original programming. As reported in February, though, it does appear Roku will be looking to develop in-house content sooner rather than later.
Either way, Cypher will receive an exclusive seven-episode simultaneous drop through Roku’s ad-supported outlet, which, as of Q4 2020, it claims can reach up to 61.4 million people. That’s an audience reach that has doubled in the past year.
So, what’s Cypher about? Well, it stars Martin Dingle Wall as an FBI cryptanalyst, who discovers a hit list within a coded document that belongs to some baddies. Other cast members include Mary Helen Schmidt, Laren Gravitt, Brian Krause and Jaclyn Hales, with Tamer Mortada as executive producer and the show directed by Majdi Smiri.
It may not be the most original-sounding concept, sure, but it is the kind of thing that helps Roku fill the gap while it develops some in-house movies and TV shows.
And with its competitors – including Amazon, Netflix, Disney+ and Apple – all overseeing some kind of in-house production, Roku’s original programming will likely be a key factor in its ability to match the competition moving forward.
For now, though, it’s time to settle in and watch Cypher.
Writing by Conor Allison.