Last week I was excited to be a part of Roku’s 2021 Developers Conference as an attendee. I’m a channel developer, having built and maintained 2 channels with over 70,000 installations. I’m also an active poster to assist others on their developer forums, it’s a way to pay it forward. Intrinsic motivation let’s say. So it was good to take part in a bigger platform for their movement, Roku is a brand I follow and, believe in. I always felt they had a great future ahead of them when I cut the cord in 2010.

As a side benefit, I was curious to see their virtual conference platform. Myself having been experienced in producing virtual conferences in the CPA industry. They chose a Whova streaming platform. Kindof an ‘app builder’ using various widgets and 3rd party plugins to build out to specs. Streaming was, ironically, thru Youtube Live, which, considering the current dispute between Roku & Youtube TV, was an interesting choice. Overall, I was a bit surprised at the build, it seemed less than the look & production of say Intrado or On24 from a platform perspective. With that said, on with the show!

The content started off with a bit of an overview of upcoming releases, notably IDK (Independant Developer Kit). It seems a new overhaul to their current Scenegraph Developers Kit (SDK) as this will soon allow more web and PC oriented languages such as Javascript & C+ to be used to code in various applications. Either real time, such as news crawl, weather or stock tickers, but also expand their reach into gaming with new abilities. While currently at the bottom of gaming, it’s possible they have their eyes on a much larger market share. Maybe not Call Of Duty or Madden NFL, but better games for non-gamers. I’m a fan of Chess, Sudoku, and Brain Puck (and yes, Retaliate), but some the graphics leave a little bit to be desired at the moment. Imagine Poker on your 65″ HDTV? Nice…

They then touched upon The Roku Channels current status. At the moment it ranks as the 6th largest streaming channel, after Netflix, Disney+, Youtube, Hulu, and HBOMax. Quite an achievement (I wonder where Old School Social Studies Films ranks?). They also took the dive this past year into original programming, and it sounds like a venture they’re looking to remain in.

In addition, they touched upon their monetization platform for streaming channels. It’s a qualification entry, one which I was a part of in the early stages of RAF (Roku’s Advertising Framework). Albeit, payouts were low, and while we did not mutually part ways, when I got the email saying they rethought things and that maybe no all channels were large enough or desireable enough to advertise on, I’ll just say I didn’t disagree with their reasoning. I’ve since gone and setup my own ad server framework, and viola, can now run my own ads on it, promoting businesses, a friends, book, and yes KungFu Saturday Afternoon Jawns.

Come to think of it, it’s something I’ve been meaning to work on, better advertising. Thanks for the inspa…!

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