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OTTCONversations: Anthony Wood, Founder and CEO of Roku

6 years ago31 views

The future of television, as Roku Founder and CEO Anthony Wood sees it, is not as futuristic as you'd think, where we'll be able to watch every movie ever made, in any language, day or night. Wood says the future is getting close. I caught up with Wood at the Over-the-Top Conference, OTTCON 2012, earlier this year where he presented a keynote, "Future of TV: Why OTT is a Game Change." Regarded as a pioneer and innovator in the TV and digital media industry, Wood has had a hand in shaping the future of television, as inventor of the digital video recorder (DVR) and the Roku streaming player. He described a few different themes in what's going to happen to OTT over the next few years, and noted the skepticism around the OTT industry when the OTTCON started 3 years ago.

Wood says the industry is maturing and and distribution models are changing.

"Over the top is really about distribution. It used to be television was distributed over networks, ABC, CBS, NBC, and then there was cable and VCRs, and satellite, now television is moving to the next phase, which is distribution over the Internet," says Wood. "And it's creating a lot of opportunities and risks for some of the incumbents, and a lot of opportunities to create new brands, like Netflix and Roku."

Wood says sales of Roku boxes tripled in the last year as the demand for Netflix increased, and as traditional models of distribution like Blockbuster died and quickly faded away.

"But like all television, the most important thing is the content, the television show. If there's not a lot of great TV, people won't watch it."

Content is available on Roku through it's channel store. Netflix was the first channel available on Roku, and now the list has grown to over 500 channels with new ones going live every day.

"As we've added more content, the usage on our platform has grown as well. So, what used to be about 6 hours a week on average people used Roku has been growing consistently to 12 hours a week, and that's going to keep growing until we get to 35 ...

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