How to Start a Roku Channel for Your Small Business

how to create a roku channel

Traditional television is fading fast. Today’s consumers want total control over the content they view, and streaming boxes and services such as Roku (NASDAQ:ROKU) are making this possible.

In addition to providing content from broadcast TV and movie studios, Roku lets your small business create a TV channel. If television channel development sounds out of the realm of possibilities for your company, you can thank digital technology for making it happen. 

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So What is Roku?

Roku has a product line which lets you connect your TV to the internet to access a wide range of content. It includes set-top boxes, streaming USB sticks, smartTV, and 3M streaming projector.

While the product line may seem limited, where Roku shines is in the content department. There are literally thousands of “Channels” created by everyone from major TV and movie studios to big brands, small businesses and individuals.

With 10 million users, it delivers a paying customer base your small business can access to grow its brand. 

Should Your Small Business Create a Channel on Roku?

The answer will depend greatly on the type industry your business is in. If you are in the entertainment field in any of its facets, it will definitely help. But it doesn’t stop there. You can develop a channel no matter what industry you are in to educate and attract new customers.

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By providing personalized information about your industry, products, services, new technologies, and even tutorials you will become a valuable resource your customers can count on.

This is not for everybody, but if you are looking to make your brand powerful with strong recognition beyond a website and videos on social media, this is a way to do it.

How to Create a Roku Channel

Here is a step-by-step process for creating a channel on Roku using Direct Publisher, which should take you less than 15 minutes. These instructions are according to the Roku site.

Before you start, you will need a Roku device and account, sample content, and the feed for the sample content. Roku provides both assets. You can get the samples here and the feed here.

Here’s how to get started!

Once your account is set up, go to Manage Channels, click Add Channel, and continue. When the page opens, click on Direct Publisher and name your channel.

How to Create a Roku Channel for Your Small Business

Channel Properties

The next page is Channel Properties. Here you will set the different parameters for your channel, including availability in different countries, language, the age of your target audience and more. Make sure you set these parameters before you continue to the next page.

How to Create a Roku Channel for Your Small Business

Add a Content Feed URL

For the sake of this tutorial, you will use the Feed URL Roku has provided. This site contains information about your videos, such as URLs, title, description, language and more.

How to Create a Roku Channel for Your Small Business

Channel Branding

This is where you customize your channel with your brand. This can include your logo, colors and other content that identifies your company.  Again, you will be using the content Roku has provided for the tutorial which is here. Upload the content to the appropriate location on the page.

How to Create a Roku Channel for Your Small Business

Add Category Tag(s)

By properly identifying each category, your audience will be able to find you easily amongst the thousands of channels on Roku. There are three auto-generated categories, but you can add your own to increase your visibility by clicking “Add Category.”

How to Create a Roku Channel for Your Small Business

When you click the Add Category button, you will be directed to this page.

How to Create a Roku Channel for Your Small Business

Here is some of the detailed information you will need to enter into each field when creating your Roku channel.

  1. Enter a name for your category. This is the title that will display on your content row in the finished channel.
  2. Select whether you’re creating your category based on tags or playlists.
  3. Enter tags that appear in your content feed. Content labeled with these tags will populate your category.
  4. Provide rules for the category. Does a piece of content only need one of the tags you enter to appear in your category, or must it include all tags?
  5. How would you like to order the category?
  6. Click save to finish creating the category.

Channel Store Info

You can customize the information the user sees when browsing new channels or when downloading and/or buying something in the Channel Store. You will be using the Roku file titled Channel Poster to make the changes. After you finish the customization, select “Preferred Category” to place your channel where it will be posted.


How to Create a Roku Channel for Your Small Business

If you are going to monetize your channel, you can go to this link to get additional tutorials.


The screenshots you post are what users will see when they are browsing the Channel Store. You can auto-generate the screenshots or use your own content for up to six channels. This tutorial uses the auto-generating option.

How to Create a Roku Channel for Your Small Business

Support Information

Here you will provide support information for your channel so your customers can get in touch with you. Make sure you have the latest contact info and everything is working. You want to be able to answer your customers right away if they have any questions.

How to Create a Roku Channel for Your Small Business

The “Test Accounts” field can be blank for Direct Publisher channels.

Channel Preview

The channel is now ready to be previewed and published. Click on the URL under “Device Preview” and you will be taken to a page to add your new channel to your Roku device. It can take up to 24 hours to show up, but if you can’t wait, you can go to Settings > System > System update and check for updates to refresh your channels.

How to Create a Roku Channel for Your Small Business

Feed Status

A Feed Status link is also located on the Preview and Publish page. The link leads to a page that provides information on how your content is doing. If there is an error, it will identify what it is so you can take the appropriate action.

How to Create a Roku Channel for Your Small Business

You are done. You now have your own Roku channel. It can be part of your overall digital strategy by connecting it with your website and social media or a stand-alone platform.

If all goes well, it should look like the image below, but you can always go to Roku’s Direct Publisher page to get more information, if got a different result.

How to Create a Roku Channel for Your Small Business

Roku Photo via Shutterstock

Michael Guta Michael Guta is the Assistant Editor at Small Business Trends and currently manages its East African editorial team. Michael brings with him many years of content experience in the digital ecosystem covering a wide range of industries. He holds a B.S. in Information Communication Technology, with an emphasis in Technology Management.

6 Reactions
  1. You might also try using Instant TV Channel to build a Roku channel. In addition to supporting the “Direct Publisher” method of building a Roku channel as described in this article, Instant TV Channel also supports the “Developer SDK” publication method which has many more features & options than the “Direct Publisher” method has. Free accounts are available for smaller channels.

  2. This came just in time because video is just going to become bigger in the upcoming years.

  3. I am wondering how Roku differs from Youtube. Youtube is definitely the leader when it comes to videos and the market is already there.

  4. I have not heard of Roku before. If it will grow in audience, then it has great potential. I just hope that it really achieves its goal of helping people in building their own video channel.

  5. Hi Scott,
    We appreciate the info, thank you very much.

  6. Can you tell me someone tomake my roku channel
    I can’t doit I’m disabled