Technology

Roku Service Suffers Major Outage, Users Getting FBI Warnings

roku service outage
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Roku service suffered a massive outage on Tuesday afternoon with users reporting that they were unable to access Netflix and YouTube among other channels. The Roku service outage is nothing new, but what was interesting to note that instead of the apps, users saw a warning from the FBI, which said that the channel in question was removed “due to repeated claims of copyright infringement.”

Roku was quick to acknowledge the issue, and released the standard in-house message that “We are investigating and working toward a quick resolution.” Talking of the FBI message, the streaming service said, “We use that warning when we detect content that has violated copyright.”

Further, the streaming service provider stated that a few channels in the store displayed the message and became inaccessible after Roku came up with a targeted anti-piracy measure, according to CNET.

The Roku service outage was fixed later in the day, following which users were able to access the channels they wished to see. One of Roku’s representatives told TechCrunch that “a small percentage of customers” were affected. Also, the service provider suggested that the issue can be fixed by manually updating players inside the settings menu. Also, a few channels would have to be logged into again.

Roku has outsmarted other streaming devices such as Apple TV, Google Chromecast and Amazon’s Fire TV to take the topmost position in the U.S., according to the analysts. The Roku service outage, however, still cannot be taken lightly considering the fact that 2018 has not been so good for the company with the share price nose-diving after the company’s most recent financial report in February.

However, its platform revenue surpassed the player revenue for the first time in the first-quarter of 2018, surging 106% year-over-year. On the other hand, the player segment witnessed a 3% decline in sales. Further, Roku’s advertising products contributed to about two-thirds of the platform revenue last year and three quarters of revenue in the fourth-quarter.

About licensing fees outperforming the hardware sales for the first time, Roku CEO Anthony Wood said, “That shows clearly that our business model is working.” While speaking at the conference call, Wood said that the company has aimed at acquiring customers through hardware sales and then monetizing through advertising.

In its letter to shareholders, Roku’s management stated that on the basis of traditional MVPD (multichannel video programming distributor), it could be the third largest provider, lagging only to AT&T and Comcast. Roku ended the quarter with 20.8 million active accounts, compared to 25.4 million video subscribers for AT&T and 21.2 million for Comcast.

During the first-quarter conference call, Roku stated that half of their new users came from Roku smart TVs built by companies like TCL, and that 1 in 4 TVs sold in the U.S. during the quarter was of Roku’s. The company also revealed that half of Roku’s active users had cut the cord, or never paid a TV subscription. The company noted that there is a strong possibility of media companies targeting those consumers by licensing their content to players like Roku rather than building their own streaming services.

“It’s hard to build a direct-to-consumer service,” CEO Wood told Variety previously. “A typical media company really doesn’t have those skills.”

Roku’s share price was hit hard last month after Amazon revealed a partnership with Best Buy to sell Insignia TVs powered by the Amazon Fire TV operating system. Insignia, a Best Buy house brand, previously worked on Roku’s software.

However, the year has a lot in store for Roku as the company looks forward to launch its own smart speakers, smart soundbars, surround sound and multi-home audio systems. All these devices would use Roku’s new Connect Software to communicate wirelessly and will be controlled by voice. Roku would develop the device in collaboration with partners via a new Roku licensing program.

Meanwhile, Roku is expanding the content library of its ad-supported Roku channel. The company will now give access to the full season of select shows from Showtime, Fox and Epix, as well as other partners to the channel. Some of the newly added shows would include Billions, Ray Donovan and The Affair, as well as Epix’ Get Shorty. Also, the company is including the select shows of Fox channel such as The Four: Battle for Stardom, Beat Shazam and Love Connection, as well as nature and wildlife documentaries from Smithsonian Earth.

Viewers, however, can watch these shows only until May 20, the day being campaigned as “National Streaming Day” for the past couple of years. The day also coincides with the tenth anniversary of the first Roku player, which was released in 2008.