Study: Almost Half of TV Content Viewers in U.S. Use an AVOD Service Monthly

Almost half (46%) of TV content viewers in the United States report using an ad-supported streaming service (AVOD) at least monthly, according to a new study.

Meanwhile, 28% use a free ad-supported TV (FAST) service with ad supported linear channels in addition to their on-demand offerings, according to Horowitz Research’s recent State of Viewing and Streaming 2021 report.

Consumers are using a wide range of ad-supported services with linear content. Pluto TV, Tubi, The Roku Channel app, and IMDb TV are the services consumers report using most often, according to the survey of 2,000 TV content viewers conducted in May.

Streaming is poised to eclipse traditional platforms in terms of share of viewing of long-form TV content, the Horowitz study showed. Among consumers overall, 35% of self-reported time spent is now spent on linear content delivered via a traditional service (cable, satellite, or over-the-air through an antenna), while 37% is spent on streamed content (the rest is spent on cable or satellite-delivered VOD, content that is DVR’d, or DVDs).

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Half (50%) of time spent among 18-34 year olds is on streamed content, while only 18% of their time is spent with traditional, linear content.

Six in 10 (58%) streamers feel that ads are a fair “price” for being able to watch TV content for free or for a small price. Almost four in 10 consumers (38%) are starting to notice — and appreciate the more customized, personalized advertising experience they are getting through streaming.

“Consumers’ love for entertainment content and their desire to get as much of that content as they can for as little as they can hasn’t changed,” noted Adriana Waterston, SVP of insights and strategy for Horowitz. “The fundamentals of the industry haven’t changed. What has changed are the expectations consumers have about how, where and when they can consume the content they love, and the technology that exists to deliver those experiences. When delivered in the screen-agnostic, watch-anywhere, and highly personalized viewing experience of the streaming environment, we are seeing some consumers not just tolerating, but welcoming advertising, particularly when it is customized to their interests.”

Redbox Expands Content on Free Live TV and On Demand Platforms

Redbox is expanding its lineup of content available through its free, ad-supported streaming platforms Free Live TV and Free On Demand.

Redbox’s Free Live TV has expanded to 100 linear channels featuring a wide range of channel partners delivering movies, television, news, sports and lifestyle content programmed for Redbox’s 40 million customers. Channels include Crackle, Popcornflix, Tastemade, Unsolved Mysteries, Cheddar News, Divorce Court and Pac-12 Network. Free Live TV is available on Redbox.com, Roku, iOS and Android devices, Android TV, Vizio Smart TVs, LG TVs, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Samsung and Chromecast.

Free On Demand, Redbox’s free ad-supported service, has added to its catalog of movies and television, adding content from Shout! Factory, Legendary Television, Magnolia Pictures and Relativity Media. This Summer 13 (Jason Statham), Empire State (Dwayne Johnson), Solace (Anthony Hopkins) and Child 44 (Tom Hardy), among other titles, will be available on Free On Demand along with hundreds of additional titles. Free On Demand is available on Redbox.com, Roku, Vizio, LG, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and iOS and Android with more devices coming soon.

“We know audiences are hungry for entertainment, and we’ve seen steady growth across Free Live TV and Free On Demand since they were launched in 2020,” Jason Kwong, chief strategy and digital officer at Redbox, said in a statement. “Redbox is building a home for audiences looking for the widest possible selection of entertainment at every price point, including free.”

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Over the past two years, Redbox has transformed into a multi-product entertainment provider with physical and digital options for consumers. In 2020, Redbox expanded its service to include free, ad-supported platforms — Free Live TV and Free On Demand. Redbox now serves multiple windows and business models, including film distribution, transactional video on demand (TVOD), premium video on demand (PVOD), ad-supported linear and on demand (AVOD).

As previously announced on May 17, Redbox entered into a definitive agreement to combine with Seaport Global Acquisition Corp., a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company. The transaction, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021, will result in Redbox becoming a publicly traded company on Nasdaq under the ticker RDBX. Redbox expects to use the capital from the transaction to invest in innovation, pay down debt and accelerate the company’s digital transformation.

Survey: Almost Two-Thirds of U.S. Video Streamers Have Switched From Ad-Free to Ad-Supported Services

Almost two-thirds (60%) of American video streamers said they have switched from ad-free to ad-supported streaming services in the past year, according to a survey from Piplsay, a global consumer research platform.

Meanwhile, 28% of them said they had completely switched to ad-supported streaming services.

Half (49%) of Americans were extremely satisfied with the content offered on ad-supported streaming services.

Hulu (34%) and Peacock (23%) were the top choices for paid and free ad-supported streaming services, respectively.

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Piplsay surveyed more than 27,800 people in the United States over the past week.

Pluto TV Adds Julia Child, ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive’ Channels

AVOD service Pluto TV has added a Julia Child channel and a channel of the classic Western “Wanted: Dead or Alive.”

Pluto TV is owned by ViacomCBS.

The Julia Child channel, located on channel 519, features more than 165 hours of 24/7 content from the legendary chef’s cooking shows. The channel includes episodes of “The French Chef,” “Baking With Julia” and “Julia Child: Cooking With Master Chefs.”

The 24/7 “Wanted: Dead or Alive” channel features the full run of the groundbreaking Western starring Steve McQueen as bounty hunter Josh Randall.

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Ad-Supported Paramount+ Streaming Service Has a Launch Date: June 7

ViacomCBS’s branded subscription streaming platform Paramount+ now has an official launch date for an ad-supported option: June 7. The SVOD service launched March 4 in the U.S. priced at $5.99 monthly with limited ads. The new ad-supported tier replaces that option and is priced at $4.99. A commercial-free tier costs $9.99 monthly.

Competitor Hulu charges $5.99 monthly with ads, $11.99 without. Disney+ remains ad-free at $7.99, while Netflix and Amazon Prime Video charge $8.99 and $12.99 monthly, respectively, without ads. Neither service streams commercials.

ViacomCBS ended the most-recent fiscal quarter with 36 million combined Paramount+ and Showtime OTT subscribers globally. The two services topped 19.4 million subs in the U.S. through Feb. 24.

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HBO Max Ad-Supported Sub Tier to Launch in Early June at $9.99 a Month

HBO Max May 18 at the 2021 WarnerMedia Upfront announced that it will debut its ad-supported subscription tier in the first week of June, providing consumers choice between the existing ad-free version of HBO Max at $14.99 per month, or an ad-supported experience for $9.99 per month.

Subscribers to the ad-supported tier of HBO Max will have access to the full HBO Max content catalog, as well as originals, but will not have access to Warner Bros. same-day premiere films debuting in theaters and on HBO Max throughout 2021.

HBO Max previewed new ad experiences coming to the platform later this year and shared its commitment to having the lightest ad load in the streaming industry.

“HBO Max With Ads will bring our beloved entertainment brands and franchises to even more consumers at this new, lower price point-while, for the first time, elegantly connecting brands to the premium, iconic IP that defines this service,” Tony Goncalves, EVP and chief revenue officer for WarnerMedia, said in a statement.

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Advertising plans include:

  • “Brand Block” (available now), where brands own a block of content and consumers get a limited commercial experience;
  • “Pause Ads” (coming soon), featuring ad engagement opportunities when a consumer takes a break;
  • “Branded Discovery” (coming soon), during the content discovery process.

HBO Max is also scheduled to launch (without ads) in 39 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean in late June, and the HBO-branded streaming services in Europe (the Nordics, Spain, Central Europe, and Portugal) are scheduled to be upgraded to HBO Max later this year.

The WarnerMedia Upfront began with CEO Jason Kilar’s first public appearance since the surprise announcement earlier this week that AT&T is spinning the business unit off to merge into a new entity, with Discovery.

Kilar is rumored to be on his way out, since the new combined company will be run by Discovery CEO David Zaslav.

Kilar said the industry is “rapidly evolving … and we are transforming with it.”

U.S. Spanish Channel Service Sony Canal Available on Xumo and Pluto TV

Sony Canal — the free, ad-supported streaming television (FAST) suite of channels from Sony Pictures Television for Spanish-speaking viewers in the United States — is now available on Xumo’s free streaming platform with Sony Canal Competencias, and via Pluto TV in the en Español category with Sony Canal Comedias and Sony Canal Escape Perfecto.

The Sony Canal channels are also available to consumers via Samsung TV Plus, The Roku Channel, Plex and Vizio SmartCast.

Sony Canal Novelas is dedicated to popular classic telenovelas and modern serial dramas, including “Doña Barbara,” “Si Me Miran Tus Ojos,” “Los Caballeros Las Prefieren Brutas​,” “Señorita Pólvora” (“Miss Dynamite”) and “Paraíso Travel.”

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The Sony Canal Comedias channel offers culturally relevant modern remakes, featuring sitcoms and comedy series including “Casados Con Hijos” (“Married With Children”), “Aqui No Hay Quien Viva,” “Quién Manda a Quien?” (“Who’s the Boss”) and “Mi Bella Genio” (“I Dream of Jeannie”).

Sony Canal Competencias is dedicated to reality competition shows from Latin America such as “Escape Perfecto” (“Raid the Cage”) and “Ruleta Rusa” (“Russian Roulette”).

Sony Canal Escape Perfecto, available on Pluto TV, is a channel dedicated entirely to competition series “Escape Perfecto” (“Raid the Cage”), which has been remade all around the world.

Samsung TV Plus Adds Impact Wrestling

Professional wrestling organization Impact Wrestling, a subsidiary of Anthem Sports & Entertainment, has inked an agreement with Samsung TV Plus, giving viewers access to its library of wrestling content through both a dedicated Impact Wrestling Channel and on VOD.

Samsung TV Plus is a free ad-supported streaming (FAST) service, offering viewers instant access to more than 160 channels. Samsung TV Plus comes pre-installed on 2016-21 Samsung Smart TVs and is available on select Samsung Galaxy devices. Impact’s dedicated channel is on channel 1,164 on Samsung TV Plus.

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“This new partnership presents an invaluable opportunity for us to bring Impact Wrestling’s exclusive premium content to even more viewers across the country,” Jaime Pollack, Anthem’s chief revenue officer for its sports media group, said in a statement. “We are excited to share our deep, generation-spanning library with Samsung TV Plus’ audience — giving wrestling fans both old and new a chance to enjoy all of the larger-than-life personas, legendary matches, and gripping story-telling that Impact Wrestling is known for.”

Impact Wrestling includes almost two decades of new and classic original content, with classic stars, including Ric Flair, Sting, Kurt Angle, Kevin Nash and AJ Styles, as well as a current roster of athletes, including Rich Swann, The Good Brothers, former NFL player Moose, Deonna Purrazzo, Sami Callihan, Eddie Edwards, Jordynne Grace, Eric Young and Chris Bey.

Impact programming is televised globally in 120 countries including AXS TV in the United States.

FilmRise Bows Classic TV Channel, Licenses ‘Dick Van Dyke Show,’ ‘Danny Thomas Show’ and ‘That Girl’

New York-based film and television studio and streaming network FilmRise is launching the FilmRise Classic TV Channel and App.

The launch is bolstered by classic television series “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “That Girl” and “The Danny Thomas Show” licensed in a deal between FilmRise and Paul Brownstein Productions.

“These programs continue to resonate with audiences from generation to generation,” Max Einhorn, SVP of acquisitions and co-productions at FilmRise, said in a statement. “They have stood the test of time and have become the foundation for the sitcoms that are created today. Marlo Thomas, Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Danny Thomas … proven talent that continues to entertain as their legacies live on.”

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“The Dick Van Dyke Show” won two Golden Globes and 15 Emmy Awards. It ran for five seasons (1961 to 1966) with a total of 158 half-hour episodes. The series was centered on the work and home life of television comedy writer Rob Petrie, played by Dick Van Dyke. The show was created by Carl Reiner and also starred Mary Tyler Moore. “The Dick Van Dyke Show” was recently featured in Disney+ classic sitcom inspired “WandaVision,” for which Dick Van Dyke himself consulted.

“That Girl,” starring Marlo Thomas, debuted in 1966 and ran for five seasons (1966-71).  It won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for four Emmys. Thomas played Ann Marie, an aspiring actress who moves from her hometown of Brewster, New York, to try to make it big in New York City.

“The Danny Thomas Show”

“The Danny Thomas Show” won five Emmys and ran from 1953 to 1964. Thomas played the role of Danny Williams, a successful comedian and nightclub entertainer at the Copa Club, based on the iconic New York City nightclub the Copacabana. Episodes regularly featured music by Danny Thomas and major guest stars

“These shows define classic television,” Paul Brownstein said in a statement. “The comedy is timeless, and they have all been broadcast continuously for over 60 years. Thanks to FilmRise, the legacy streams on.”

Among the many iconic TV series and films available on FilmRise’s Classic TV Channel and App are “The Rifleman,” “3rd Rock From the Sun,” “Grace Under Fire,” “Grounded For Life,” “Highway to Heaven,” “My Favorite Martian,” “Midsomer Murders,” “Sleepers,” “Dead Calm,” “Forensic Files” and “Unsolved Mysteries With Robert Stack.”

FilmRise operates the FilmRise Streaming Network, comprised of 22 Apps on streaming devices such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Comcast Xfinity, iOS, Android, Apple TV, Cox Contour TV, and more than a dozen FAST Channels available on platforms such as The Roku Channel, Samsung TV Plus, Vizio Watch Free and IMDbTV, among others.

Hulu + Live TV Adds Nine ViacomCBS Networks

Hulu + Live TV is adding nine ViacomCBS networks to its channel lineup, including Comedy Central, BET, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr, VH1, CMT, MTV, TV Land and the Paramount Network.

Subscribers will also have on-demand access to TV series titles such as “Freaks & Geeks,” “Moesha” and “Sister Sister.”

Monthly subscription pricing for Hulu + Live TV will remain at $64.99 per month.

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Five ViacomCBS networks — BETher, MTV2, NickToons, TeenNick and MTV Classic — will join Hulu’s entertainment add-on.

Hulu + Live TV offers more than 65 live TV channels, plus the core Hulu on-demand service (normally $5.99 per month as a standalone offering).