Roku lands its first streaming deal in Asia with Philippines-based PLDT tie-up

Roku, the streaming media company, has netted its first deal with an operator in Asia after it announced an agreement with Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT).

PLDT is no stranger to deals with tech companies, it invested in Rocket Internet to develop technologies for Southeast Asia and was an early backer of Netflix-like service iFlix, which also operates in Southeast Asia.

Now, through its deal with Roku, PLDT will sell a dedicated, own-branded Roku streaming player and offer an accompanying streaming service from Q2 2017. The company said the content will include programming from its Cignal network, iFlix and “content from global providers”, although a price has not been revealed yet. That represents a similar deal to Roku’s agreement with British broadcaster Sky, which also sells its box and service in Italy, among other partners.

“We’ll be able to offer consumers a low-cost device with access to the best content from the Philippines and around the world through an easy-to-use user interface,” PLDT’s Oscar Reyes Jr. said.

“In the past, operators first had to build or lease dedicated infrastructure in order to deliver TV services to the home, but with streaming that is no longer the case. As a result, we see a lot of interest from all over the world for our Roku Powered program from both telecom and pay TV operators,” Andrew Ferrone, vice president of pay TV at Roku, added in a statement.

Despite that interest, a Roku spokesperson confirmed to us that there is no immediate plan to expand its coverage in Asia at this point. The PLDT offering won’t go on sale until mid next year, so we may see increased activity close to, or after, it goes live.