Kara Swisher

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Roku Nabs $45 Million From News Corp., BSkyB in Strategic Investment

Roku, the maker of a nifty device that plays a variety of content over televisions, is getting $45 million in a new round of investment from News Corp. and British Sky Broadcasting. (News Corp. owns this Web site.)

Current investors Menlo Ventures and Globespan Capital Partners will also be part of the new funding.

The company did not disclose the new valuation with the new investment. It has previously raised $22.4 million, including from Netflix.

The investments by News Corp. and BSkyB, in which the media giant owns about 40 percent, are separate. There is also another unnamed investor in the round.

As part of the deal, News Corp.’s Chief Digital Officer Jon Miller will be joining the board.

The money will be used for expansion, as well as for other initiatives, the Saratoga, Calif.-based Roku said.

It also said it will be launching the Roku Streaming Stick this fall, which it previously announced. It is a “wireless, dongle-sized streaming device that seamlessly integrates with newer TVs and consumer electronics devices. The streaming stick is Roku’s first step in expanding its platform from streaming players to Smart TVs and other devices connected to the TV.”

Here’s the official press release that is just going out:

Roku Raises $45 Million from News Corporation, BSkyB and Others
Strategic Round Underscores Roku’s Platform Lead as Content Distribution Moves to Internet

Saratoga, Calif. — July 26, 2012 Roku Inc. today announced it has received a $45 million strategic investment. News Corporation, British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB), prior Roku venture investors Menlo Ventures and Globespan Capital Partners as well as an unnamed strategic investor joined the round. The new relationships include both financial backing and business agreements that demonstrate the industry’s confidence in Roku as the distribution platform to bring streaming entertainment to mainstream consumers.

Roku will use the new capital to build further brand awareness through advertising, develop new international markets, and increase engineering and production to support sales growth of both hardware and digital media services on the platform including advertising, games, transactional and pay-per-view video as well as content packages. In addition to its line of popular and award-winning Roku streaming players, the company will launch the Roku Streaming Stick this fall — a wireless, dongle-sized streaming device that seamlessly integrates with newer TVs and consumer electronics devices. The streaming stick is Roku’s first step in expanding its platform from streaming players to Smart TVs and other devices connected to the TV.

“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,” said News Corporation Chief Digital Officer Jon Miller. “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.”

“We’re delighted to have entered into this strategic relationship with Roku. As an innovative content company we’re committed to embracing a wide range of complementary platforms to create more choice and flexibility for customers,” said BSkyB Chief Financial Officer Andrew Griffith. “Coupled with the on-going strength of satellite distribution, online and mobile help us unlock even more value for customers. Working with Roku we look forward to extending our multi-platform leadership.”

“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 Chief Executive Officer Anthony Wood. “With the News Corporation and Sky strategic relationships, we are poised to further grow our leadership position and to become the TV distribution platform of the future.”

Jon Miller will join the Roku Board of Directors. Anthony Wood will remain Chairman of the Board.


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