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Roku nabs £30m investment from News Corp, BSkyB & others

Is smart telly maverick Roku on the verge of becoming the Pay-TV industry's streaming box of choice?

Late yesterday, the privately-held American digital media company announced that it had scored a tidy financial boost, picking up a strategic investment of nearly £30 million from a consortium led by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation and including British satellite broadcaster BSkyB, also linked to the Murdoch empire. (opens in new tab)

Menlo Ventures, Globespan Capital Partners, and an unnamed individual rounded out the parties involved in the deal, with the new relationship including both direct monetary backing and business agreements seeking to progress Roku's entertainment distribution platform.

News Corp's (opens in new tab)Chief Digital Officer Jon Miller is joining the Roku board as part of the arrangement, with the company said to be looking to use the new capital to advance brand awareness in international markets and increase engineering support, among other initiatives.

(opens in new tab)"We have watched Roku maintain market leadership since the launch of its streaming platform four years ago and we look forward to deepening our relationship, having already worked closely together on the launch of several products," Mr Miller said.

"Roku's significant technology advantage, coupled with a strong market position, places them in a unique position to be an integral part of the television landscape for years to come," he added.

Roku is a leading streaming platform for delivering video, music and casual games to the TV. Roku launched the first player to stream Netflix to the TV in 2008, and today streams more than 500 entertainment channels to millions of customers, also partnering with US on-demand video streaming service Hulu.

"Our philosophy is to give consumers the best streaming TV experience, with the most content and at the best value in the market; and it has served us well as millions of consumers have brought Roku into their homes," said Roku founder and CEO Anthony Wood, who is credited with inventing the DVR.

The set-top box maker's latest funding deal looks to continue its growth and is particularly interesting in light of Sky's recent launch of a native online TV service, Now TV (opens in new tab). Prior to this deal, Roku had secured some £20 million in investment since its inception in 2002.

James is a freelance editor, journalist, and writer with 10+ years experience in digital media, SEO and news writing. He has produced content on a number of Future sites, including TechRadar, ITProPortal, Tom's Guide, and T3, and was Senior Staff Writer at ITProPortal.