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Viacom Invests in Roku

The Web TV streamer would like to go public, but that's not happening anytime soon.

Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Viacom has joined the ranks of big media and TV companies investing in Roku, the Web video streaming hardware and software company.

The cable programmer participated in a $45.5 million funding round Roku closed last fall and recently disclosed via a SEC filing. Viacom and Roku reps confirmed the investment to Re/code but didn’t offer additional comment.

Viacom is one of several media companies that put money into Roku, which is best known for its boxes that make it easy to watch Web video on TVs. Hearst, Dish, News Corp and British satellite TV provider Sky have also put money into Roku, which has now raised at least $200 million.

Roku has been eyeing an IPO for some time, but the new money is an admission that won’t be happening in the near future. In the meantime, Roku is trying to gain ground on Web streaming hardware rivals like Apple, Google and Amazon (which previously tried to buy Roku) by getting its software into connected TVs made by companies like Hisense. Roku says it now has 8 percent of the connected TV market.

Last fall, Viacom made another digital bet by investing in Digitour Media, the company that brings YouTube and Vine stars on tour.

This article originally appeared on

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