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Yahoo, Other Oath Programming Launches on Roku Channel as Verizon Hopes to Boost Video Revenue

Verizon’s Oath struck a deal with Roku to distribute live and on-demand content from Yahoo and other media properties on the device maker’s free-to-watch Roku Channel.

None of the Oath programming will be exclusively available on the Roku Channel. That will also continue to be available for free on Oath’s owned-and-operated sites and apps. Through the deal, Oath wants to get its ad-supported content in front of Roku’s installed base of users, which was about 22 million as of the end of June 2018.

Presented under the “Yahoo” banner on the Roku Channel, the live and VOD content comes from Oath’s Yahoo News, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Sports, HuffPost, RYOT and MAKERS.

Oath has been losing steam in recent quarters — and Verizon hopes its video initiatives like the new deal with Roku will help turn things around. Revenue for Oath dropped 6.9% in the third quarter of 2018, to $1.8 billion, with Verizon blaming declines in search and desktop traffic. The telco said it expects sales at Oath, which combined AOL and Yahoo, to be “relatively flat in the near term.”

Launched in September 2017, the Roku Channel features free-to-watch movies and TV shows licensed from Lionsgate, MGM, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warner Bros., Showtime, Fox, and Epix, as well as live-streaming programming from partners including ABC News, Cheddar, and PeopleTV. In addition to Roku streaming players and TVs, the Roku Channel is available on the web and mobile devices.

The Yahoo News lineup includes video series and documentaries and live coverage around special events, such as next week’s U.S. midterm elections with coverage kicking off at 8 p.m. E.T. on Nov. 6. Yahoo Finance provides four daily live business day programs; starting Nov. 5, it will expand the shows to five hours of daily programming and will launch an eight-hour slate in January 2019.

Yahoo Sports delivers breaking news plus shows like “Fantasy Football Live,” “The Spin” and “The Rush,” as well as “Mostly Football,” a sports-and-culture pregame show with former NFL star Martellus Bennett. HuffPost provides a variety of original documentary and news programming, while the RYOT studio produces feature-length and short-form content in both traditional and emerging VR formats. MAKERS is Oath’s feminist media brand, touting a large collection of video profiles of women.

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