Create a Roku Channel – How much does it cost and how do you do you create it?

If you are in the broadcasting business or want to get into the broadcasting business then creating your own Roku channel is paramount. Creating a Roku channel is the quickest way to get your content in front of millions of people. Roku has sold over 50 million boxes and the number rises daily. Roku also makes their own branded TV with Roku built into it which makes them a real player in the Smart TV sector.

Lets first talk about the different aspects of owning and operating your own Roku channel. Even if you have created your own ROKU channel you still need a way to manage it. This includes creating video playlists, scheduling video playlists, managing VOD content and more. Obviously you also need a reliable CDN to allow seamless delivery of your video to your audience without buffering. In other words you need a Video Platform that can do all your behind the scenes work so that your channel has a professional look and feel.

Once you have your video platform in place then you need to decide on what you want your ROKU channel to look like and function. There are different styles of Roku apps. You have Roku apps that can deliver a “Netflix” type of feel and look. These apps typically order your content into categories and you assign videos to each category. Categories like Action, Comedy, Adventure, etc…. can help you organize content in a presentable way for your viewers.

You can create Roku channels that also deliver the look and feel of a “traditional” TV channel. In other words everything runs on a schedule. This means only what is scheduled is available for viewing just like watching real TV (of course your video platform will need to have this ability).  You create lists of videos then schedule them for playing. Next you have apps that is a combination of the two. These roku apps that you create can do both VOD and your traditional TV channel (playlists). Typically these Roku channels will have the TV channels at the top of the app and the VOD content down below it. This allows your viewers to both watch live/pre-recorded (scheduled) content or browse your VOD content.

Last but not least is a custom Roku channel. This is where you design both the look and the functionality of your Roku channel. Roku uses a computer language called BrightScript. This language is unique only to Roku. This means that unlike other computer languages that can be used to write programs for multiple industries, BrightScript is only for Roku devices. This means that the cost of custom development is higher because less developers understand and can write using the BrightScript language.

How much does it cost to create a Roku channel? Typically you have your upfront cost for “development” and then you have the monthly cost for your video platform. If you are using a Roku app that has already been created by a video platform and used for existing customers (a template app) you can have your development costs significantly reduced (Less than $3000) and submitted to the Roku store. However custom apps can start at 7500 and go up to tens of thousands depending on what your requirements.  Your monthly cost will typically be 200 to 500 a month no matter if you have a custom app or not.

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Roku Channel Development Costs

If you are reading this then you already know that ROKU is one of the most popular internet TV streaming devices with over 45 million units sold (as of 2018). Tens of millions of people tune in daily to watch ROKU and having your own channel there can lift your brand significantly.

Before we dive right into the development costs of Roku channels we first have to understand the different types of channels available on Roku. You have the standard linear channel that acts just like a traditional TV channel. This Roku channel is usually broadcast according to a schedule and has no VOD content. These are the least expensive Roku channels to make with less costs than more advanced apps. However keep in mind that if you are broadcasting schedule on ROKU that you still need a video playout machine or service to schedule and play your videos onto Roku.

Next you have Netflix style Roku apps that are centered for Video On Demand content. These apps usually contain categories of VOD content that displays to your viewers. The viewers then selects the category and then video they would like to play. These apps are great for displaying archived content as well. These apps are a little more expensive but still not to hefty. Keep in mind that your  monthly cost for ROKU is going to be the video platform company you choose to manage it. You can not be on ROKU without a video platform to manage VOD categories (dynamic categories) creating video playlist and scheduling video playlists.

Next you have a combination app of both VOD content and live stream(s). We have made quite of few of these channels. We create apps that will include your live streams at the top (if you have more than one a viewer can select which one to watch) and your VOD content bellow the live streams. What we have really done here is given the live streams their own category. So no matter how many you have they appear in this category. So how much do these apps cost? Most of the time this will fall under a templated app. Meaning we have already created these for previous customers and now we can just rebrand them for your company and get it approved into the roku store. Typically you will spend less than $3000 upfront and anywhere from 200 to 500 a month for the video platform you will use to manage it.

Finally we have what you would consider “custom” Roku app development.  This is where you have a custom design with custom functionalities. These apps are obviously the most expensive because they have not been created yet. A custom app can cost you anywhere from 7500 and go up considerably depending on your requirements. Roku development costs really depend on you and what your vision for your channel is. Roku has its own programming language called BrightScript. This has given Roku devices some unique abilities however having its own language has a drawback that developers have to learn new skills when creating Roku channels. So this obviously has caused the price to go up a bit.

If you are looking for a company that can both create and manage ROKU apps you should check out They have turn key packages that can get you started right away.

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