Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Revival Reveals Roku Channel Strategy

  • Roku will bring back “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist,” the canceled NBC music series, as a holiday movie.
  • Star Jane Levy and other original cast members will return alongside series creator Austin Winsberg.
  • Roku has been accumulating originals for The Roku Channel since acquiring the Quibi library.

“Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” returns for an encore.

Roku said on Wednesday it had chosen a holiday movie based on the recently canceled NBC musical as part of its effort to increase original programming for free, ad-supported.


Diffusion

television platform


The Roku Channel

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The “Zoey” movie is the first outside project Roku has commissioned since announcing its ambition to become an original and exclusive entertainment destination with the acquisition of the Quibi library last fall. Roku previously announced that it had ordered new seasons of old Quibi shows “Die Hart” starring Kevin Hart and “Most Dangerous Game” starring Christoph Waltz and Liam Hemsworth.

“It’s a testament to the success of the originals but also the diversity of our audience and the different kinds of programming we can do,” said Colin Davis, a former Quibi executive who joined Roku as head of original scripted programming. in connection with the acquisition of the library. . “These three shows are very different, but they’re all going to be successful for us.”

Roku first entered American homes through its connected TV boxes and streaming sticks. The company had 55.1 million active accounts at the end of June and holds the largest share of the connected TV market in the United States, ahead of Amazon’s Fire TV platform.

But Roku sees its biggest growth opportunity in selling advertising to the millions of people who watch TV and movies through its platforms. To that end, he launched The Roku Channel in 2017, programming it with free, ad-supported content from third-party studios including Lionsgate, MGM and Warner Bros.

After Quibi, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman’s multi-billion dollar mobile video startup, shut down last fall, Roku executives saw an opportunity to add exclusive programming to The Roku Channel’s offerings and paid less. $100 million to buy out the existing license on Quibi. library of some 75 abridged series. Roku followed that deal with the acquisition of “This Old House” producer This Old House Ventures in May.

Roku CEO Anthony Wood said in a June interview at the Tribeca X conference that expanding to original programming “just makes sense to us,” adding that the company “is looking for shows that work well. with the AVOD business model”.

“Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist,” which originally aired on TV, does the trick. The film – titled “Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas” – will be written and produced with commercial breaks in mind, Davis said.

Lionsgate will begin production on “Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas” in Vancouver next week with the full cast – including Jane Levy, Skylar Astin, Alex Newell, Mary Steenburgen and Peter Gallagher – set to reprise their roles.

Show creator Austin Winsberg, who will write and executive produce the film, said in a statement, “This show has always been about empathy, compassion, and the triumph of the human spirit. The Roku Channel definitely lifted mine and I hope our film can have the same effect on viewers around the world.”

In resurrecting “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist,” Roku is following in the footsteps of other streaming services that early on beefed up their original programming offerings with canceled network series.


netflix

brought back “Arrested Development” seven years after it first aired on Fox, while


Hulu

revived “The Mindy Project” for three more seasons after it was canceled by Fox.

“I see this as a bit of a natural evolution for streamers,” Davis said, acknowledging that Roku isn’t the first to bring back a beloved series to attract new viewers. “The [‘Zoey’] The film version is unique and shows a solid strategic approach to how we try to woo our audience.”

Tanya J. Hill