Why Are Some Roku Private Channels Gone?



Why Have Some Roku Private Channels Been Removed?



It's no secret in the past Roku had become a very attractive place for pirates to call home. This is all changing and here is why...


When Roku launched, they had one of the least restrictive platforms for channel developers to build their channels for. Times were different, the company was new channels on Roku were far and few between and with no content of their own, Roku made their platform inviting by hanging out the welcome sign for developers to come and build content for their brand new media streamer.

The developers came by the thousands, offering channels like no other media streamer had ever seen before. Soon the Roku media platform exploded into what is one of the most popular media streamers today.


Roku Private Channels Codes



Success Comes With a Price


Roku managed to attract many channel developers both large and small. They also attracted some pirate channels who violated their developer terms and added channels to sell copyrighted content.

Channels like MachTV became very popular, especially in 3rd world countries. In Mexico, Roku was even singled out and taken to court and lost the right to offer their media streamers for sale when the country's largest cable TV provider noticed their profits falling when their customers dumped expensive cable TV subscription services and bought Roku media streamers to watch pirated channels.

Some other Roku channel developers offered content found freely on the web for others to enjoy on their Roku media streamers while accepting donations.


Roku Now a Publicly Traded Company


Roku Stock Price
Roku expected to turn positive profits of US$45.74 Million in 2020 


Once Roku went public and became a publically traded company on the NASDAQ Stock Market under the ticker name ROKU, things begin to change.

In the last year alone Roku has systematically removed some once very popular private channels. Most because of copyright complaints from content providers. This was much to the dismay of some Roku users who bought a Roku with the express purpose of watching only these kind of channels for free content.

The company had no choice really. Since many of their large investors offered streaming TV content channels of their own. Like any other user-uploaded platform, if Roku turned a blind eye towards copyright complaints, their company could also be held liable under current Internet safe harbor laws.

Roku recently also assembled an anti-piracy team to help weed through a large number of private Roku channels and investigate and shut down any published Roku channels that violated their developer terms by offering copyright content when complaints are received.


Why Were Channels Like Nowhere TV and Nowhere Porn Removed?


Even though Nowhere TV linked to tons of legal podcasts and Nowhere Porn linked to older free porn where the copyright had long ago expired. These channels may have been removed due to their own popularity even though they were on Roku from almost the beginning. They were both private free channels which contained no ads so they were not bringing in any revenue for Roku.

There are still a long list of adult Roku channels which continue to be popular on Roku.



"For its entire history Roku has an “accumulated deficit” of $244 million. It doesn’t make money now, either." Source FORTUNE



Selling media streamers alone was not going to make the company profitable. Eventually, Roku will need to make a profit or investors who bought their stock will dump it and simply go elsewhere.

Roku's entire strategy to become profitable is now based on advertising. As cord-cutters moved over to Internet streaming devices billions of dollars in ad revenue will move with them. 

Roku plans on cashing in on the market by showing ads on channels made by developers and taking a percentage of the revenue. This is a business model that has worked for Google on YouTube for years.

While the ad business may be growing, Roku hardly gets any revenue from the two channels that are viewed the most on their platform. Netflix and YouTube.

While Subscription and add based channels that serve legal content contribute some revenue to Roku's bottom line. Free private channels that are extremely popular and that don't help Roku's bottom line by taking viewers away from subscription or ad-based channels will most likely no longer last very long.



Where Does This Leave Those Who Bought a Roku To Watch Free TV?


1. Fortunately, Roku still has over 4,500 channels on their platform. While many Roku channels are being built almost daily to spam the platform with the same tired open source content and are really only intended to generate ad revenue for the developer rather than providing unique and useful content. (Which is something else hopefully Roku will get a handle on.) There are still many really good free channels on Roku as well. You can find a long list of FREE legal Roku channels on our Best Free Roku Channels List


Roku also developed their own ad-supported channel with content from major content providers. It's called "The Roku Channel" and has some great FREE newer movies.


Other Popular Free Roku Channels You May Want to Add

- Baby Boomer TV features iconic programming from the golden age of television
- Vidmark feature movies and TV shows from Lions Gate Entertainment.
- Safe TV a television network dedicated to the values of God, Family and Country.
- B-Movie lets you watch thousands blockbuster movies, series online for free.
- Xumo delivers over-the-top (OTT) video-on-demand (VOD) and LIVE digital channels.
- Pluto TV has over 100 live channels and 1000's of movies from the biggest names like: NBC, CBS, Bloomberg, Paramount, and Warner Brothers.
- Maddy GTV has over 40,000 subscribers and is passionate about all things "indie"
- Haystack TV is the perfect Roku channel for news junkies. It lets you watch breaking, world and local news for free.
- Stream Now TV has the best curated indie shows and films.


2. m3u Players have also become popular on Roku as well as on other media streamers like the Fire TV and Apple TV. These players have no content and work by adding an m3u playlist which can find either on the Internet, or build yourself with linked content to mp4 video files found on the Internet.

Here is a guide on how to find or build your own playlists using Red or Black playlist players on Roku. Many private TV sites offer subscriptions to a list of live channels and movies as a playlist as well. Note: not all m3u content found online is pirated. There are many podcasts and open source movies and videos that can be added to a playlist and watched on Roku as well.


There is a chance Roku may choose to remove these m3u channels from Roku because they can open the door to piracy. But since the channels in themselves offer no content and are dependant on which m3u URLs the user inputs into them. Roku technically is not responsible for what the user decides to use the channel for and some sources like podcasts are legal to watch from an m3u player.

Users building their own playlists to play on a Roku m3u player channel is a lot different than if someone builds a Roku channel which offers pirated content and then uploads it to Roku's server. This then makes Roku liable for this content if notified with a DMCA request and they don't remove it.


3. Plex is once again becoming popular on Roku. While it used to be a very popular channel on Roku, some of the other Roku channels came along that offered much of the same free content as some Plex add-ons.

Both Plex and m3u player channels are a lot harder to setup and use and this requires more effort and technical knowledge to get working on Roku. You need to use a combination of both the Plex Roku channel and also need to have a computer running at the same time running the Plex server software to watch any content. 

Content through Plex can be either served locally or from the Internet. While Plex does have a lot of legal content channels, much like Kodi there are also unsupported apps, which offer free content sometimes from less than legal sources. Although this content is not as widespread on Plex as on Kodi.

Some Roku users are also either switching to or buying an additional Android TV box to watch additional content that was once on Roku. Last year, the Fire TV became the number one top-selling media streamer in the United States. The prior year it was Roku who dominated this market. Is there any correlation between Roku clamping down on once popular and free pirate channels on their platform and the decrease in sales last year? 

We can't say for sure if this was what caused the decline, but some very popular private Roku channels that were shut down like iStreamitAll did migrate over to Android media streamers like the Fire TV or Nvidia SHIELD along with many free channels like Kodi and are continuing to operate on this platform without any issues.

At some point, this could change. Amazon's owner is currently under fire by our President and should our Government should they ever direct resources to clamp down on the wide-spread use for piracy on the Fire TV platform. Amazon could be forced to shut down their devices to these unsupported apps as well.

The lure of Free TV is a very powerful attractant. Manufactures like Roku, Amazon, and Apple know this and are doing their best to offer consumers many free options while still keeping content providers happy and keeping themselves out of hot water by allowing their platform to be misused.

You will find that paying for your content comes with some great benefits like more stable streams, higher quality movies with less buffering, plus it is the right thing to do. In the end, it will provide you with a more enjoyable user experience for far less the cost than what you were paying your cable TV or satellite television provider every month.






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