Three weeks after Roku made it free to access some premium content, the company has launched a new “Instant Signup” initiative that lets you access content for free from networks such as HBO without needing to create an account.
The networks that Roku has partnered with to provide subscription videos on demand (SVOD) typically require a paid membership to view their content and previously you had to create a new account for each service you wanted to check out. Instant Signup reduces the barrier to entry on this content by minimizing the number of clicks involved with setting up a new subscription.
Roku says customers can start a free trial in just a few clicks and then start watching content from premium networks. When your free trial expires and it’s finally time to pay up, Roku will automatically process the charges to continue your subscription (but not without sending a reminder before you’re billed). Having Roku handle the signup and payment process also helps owners of smaller Roku Channels.
The company notes that in order for channels to participate in Instant Signup, they must be on Roku Pay, must have on-device authentication enabled for users, and must provide APIs where Roku can receive information that will be displayed to customers. Here are the full developer instructions for content providers to enable Instant Signup.
Other requirements for video providers to qualify for Instant Signup include having streamed more than an average of five million hours over the last three months. Roku notes that starting after March 31, 2020, subscription videos on demand providers who have streamed more than an average of 10 million hours in the last three months must participate in the Instant Signup program.
With that being the case, it’s probably safe to assume most of the larger networks will work toward meeting the requirements for this feature sooner rather than later.