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Roku Employee
Roku Employee

Important: Roku Developer Agreement Update

Dear Roku Developer:

Thank you for choosing the Roku platform. With support from developers like you, Roku continues to offer consumers the broadest selection of content for streaming to the TV. We also continue to invest in the scale and reach of the platform resulting in more consumer engagement than ever before. In 2014, Roku streamed over 3 billion hours of content, up 72% from the prior year, and ended the year with about 7 million monthly active accounts.

We're writing to let you know about changes coming soon to the Roku Developer Agreement.

Starting later this month, we will replace our current Developer Agreement with two different agreements. The first is the new SDK License Agreement, which allows developers to use our Software Development Kit (SDK) to build and test a Roku channel. The second is the new Application Distribution Agreement, which allows developers to publish a channel on the Roku platform. 90 days before the expiration of your current Developer Agreement, you will receive a notice requesting that you read and execute the new Application Distribution Agreement. The key changes include:

  • Paid channels (subscription, transactional, and pay-to-install) that are in the Roku Channel Store must support Roku Billing Services. This will simplify the sign-up process for consumers and help you build your audience more quickly. There will be a revenue share distribution where we remit 80% back to you monthly. For existing channels that already use the Roku billing API, we've lowered the revenue share from 30% to 20%!

  • Ad-supported channels that are in the Roku Channel Store may be asked by Roku to provide up to 30% of video ad inventory that we may sell on our behalf. Note that Roku will not typically exercise this option for channels with a small audience.


These changes will be live on Roku's developer site, developer.roku.com, in late September. You can read more about the changes here. Please review both the SDK License agreement and the Application Distribution agreement for more details. We've also created a FAQ. And of course, let us know if you have any questions. Thanks again for your support of the Roku platform!

Sincerely,
Roku Partner Management and Developer Support Teams
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37 Replies
ionatan
Level 7

Re: Important: Roku Developer Agreement Update

Regarding "Paid channels (subscription, transactional, and pay-to-install) that are in the Roku Channel Store must support Roku Billing Services.". Does this means that developers will not be allowed anymore to create Channels with third-party subscriptions systems?

Thank you,
Ionatan
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sjb64
Level 7

Re: Important: Roku Developer Agreement Update

One of the docs said to contact them in such cases. Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Spotify, and countless others would find that requirement completely undoable so they have some mechanism in place for it, otherwise having a service also on on iOS, the web, Fire, and so on couldn't be done under a single user account or payment arrangement.
FlixRaider channel
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EnTerr
Level 8

Re: Important: Roku Developer Agreement Update

This part needs clarification/rework:
4. Roku-Billing.
4.1. Public Applications that are Pay-To-Install Applications, Subscription Applications or Transactional Applications must use Roku billing services.
4.2. Private Applications that are Pay-To-Install Applications, Subscription Applications or Transactional Applications may only use Roku billing services with Roku’s prior authorization in its sole discretion.
4.3. Adult Applications may not use Roku billing services.

For 4.1, it's clear "Roku billing" should be made available in commercial PUBLIC apps - but is unclear if must be THE ONLY payment choice or it can be provided as one-of-many options?

For 4.2 - PRIVATE, it's quite unclear what it means - it's either that
  1. Roku billing may be used only with prior authorization (and presumably other methods as they see fit if no - or in addition to - Roku authorization).

  2. Or it's trying to say that "Roku billing" must be used for all payments in private channels, no other options - and if you have no authorization, sorry - your channel should be free.
Notice the wording, the placement of "only": "may only use Roku billing services with Roku’s prior authorization" suggests (b), where (a) would been "may use Roku billing services only with Roku’s prior authorization". Were that to be brought in court, it can be argued either way though.

For 4.3 - PORN, it seems to create catch-22 if 4.2 is case (b). Since 2.2 ("Adult Applications must be Private Applications") makes all adult content "private" app and 4.3 disallows Roku billing for adult content, that would imply all adult content should be free (yey!).

Come on RokuCo, you can do better that mucking up the agreement language!
I see you have more lawyers on payroll than support engineers - so send one of them here to explain themselves.
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Re: Important: Roku Developer Agreement Update

28th September....is that not late September, seems not late enough Smiley Happy

I'd like to get this signed and done with, the 10% bump in received earnings would be very welcome.
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Roku Employee
Roku Employee

Re: Important: Roku Developer Agreement Update

"ionatan" wrote:
Regarding "Paid channels (subscription, transactional, and pay-to-install) that are in the Roku Channel Store must support Roku Billing Services.". Does this means that developers will not be allowed anymore to create Channels with third-party subscriptions systems?


This means you must provide the ability for users to subscribe to your channel directly on Roku. You must not direct users to subscribe on your website. You can provide a log-in for users who already have a subscription via your website or another brand of device.

- Joel
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Roku Employee
Roku Employee

Re: Important: Roku Developer Agreement Update

"EnTerr" wrote:
For 4.1, it's clear "Roku billing" should be made available in commercial PUBLIC apps - but is unclear if must be THE ONLY payment choice or it can be provided as one-of-many options?


You can have your own billing system but users must be able to subscribe on Roku as the primary option. The secondary option would be for existing users to log in. You cannot drive users to your website or other platforms to subscribe from within your Roku app.

"EnTerr" wrote:

For 4.2 - PRIVATE, it's quite unclear what it means - it's either that
Roku billing may be used only with prior authorization (and presumably other methods as they see fit if no - or in addition to - Roku authorization).
Or it's trying to say that "Roku billing" must be used for all payments in private channels, no other options - and if you have no authorization, sorry - your channel should be free.


It means we treat private Roku Billed channels just like we treat public channels - they have to go through our certification process. There really is no change to how we are handling private channels under the new developer and distribution agreements.

"EnTerr" wrote:

For 4.3 - PORN, it seems to create catch-22 if 4.2 is case (b). Since 2.2 ("Adult Applications must be Private Applications") makes all adult content "private" app and 4.3 disallows Roku billing for adult content, that would imply all adult content should be free (yey!)


This means if you are an adult channel you must use your own billing system (if your content is not free), and you must be private.

- Joel
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Roku Employee
Roku Employee

Re: Important: Roku Developer Agreement Update

"steveintheukok" wrote:
28th September....is that not late September, seems not late enough Smiley Happy

I'd like to get this signed and done with, the 10% bump in received earnings would be very welcome.


There is a way to update now, we will be mailing developers who have a channel that already uses the billing system with instructions on updating to the latest billing agreement.

- Joel
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Re: Important: Roku Developer Agreement Update

I get frustrated, because this happens every time.

It's now October.

No sign of anything for me to sign or tick or submit and no email either.

i hate always to seem to be complaining but you DID say "near end of September", in fact why even announce it until your almost ready?

It was great news but now I'm eager to get on and not have to spend time checking if there's a checkbox or worrying I'll forget.
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EnTerr
Level 8

Re: Important: Roku Developer Agreement Update

Well, "near end of September" does not mean in September. E.g. 20-Oct is twenty days past-but-near the end of September Smiley Wink. If it happens every time, why get frustrated? Don't do any checks - people will post here when it's ready.

There are persistent rumors of Roku 4K, that's what's going on IMHO.

I hope in the mean time the Co. will fix the sloppiness of the new agreements... after all not everyone can read RokuJoel's interpretation of the text - and technically a post here does not amend the text. Just sayin'... 8-)
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