Fox Weather AVOD Service Tops Apple App Store Chart Day After Launch

One day after its Oct. 25 launch, the free Fox Weather ad-supported streaming service is ranked No. 1 on the Apple App Store chart. The third branded over-the-top video platform after Fox Nation SVOD and Fox Business International, Fox Weather features comprehensive forecasts, 3D radar, Fox Weather Wire and Fox FutureView, among other personalized user options.

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Amy Freeze

The streaming service hit the ground running as major weather conditions gripped parts of the country, including the Nor’easter and California’s first major winter storm, called the “bomb cyclone.”

Nick Kosir

Meteorologists Jason Frazer and Britta Merwin along with Stephen Morgan kicked off the live programing as co-anchors on “Fox Weather Sunrise.” Meteorologists Amy Freeze and Craig Herrera took over with live coverage of the developing weather systems as co-anchors of “America’s Weather Center.” Dancing meteorologist and social media star Nick Kosir helmed coverage later in the day on his show, “Fox Weather Wild.”

The Fox Weather team of meteorologists spent the past weeks rehearsing at its New York headquarters, home of the Fox News Channel, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary.

“Those are two of the main reasons why I decided to take this opportunity,” Freeze told Fox News Digital. “There is an appetite out there that the Fox platform is going to deliver to people, and that’s very exciting. To be a part of that from the beginning, what an opportunity.”

Vizio Expands Curated Content Channels

Vizio Oct. 20 announced a slate of new content available through its branded “Features” offering, including a series of custom-curated channels on the CE manufacturer’s ad-supported “WatchFree+” streaming video service.

The Irvine, Calif.-based company’s “Features” concept aims to leverage its first party, opted-in viewership data and home screen targeting capabilities to deliver personalized content to viewers via free ad-supported channels, movies, and shows across the VIZIO SmartCast operating system.

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On the heels of Vizio’s first curated offerings, “Fork & Flight” and “Investigation,” the company is expanding to include a wider selection of content genres. Themes and programming are selected based on what viewers have shown the greatest interest in across millions of SmartCast devices. The result is a curated experience that allows viewers to quickly and easily find content they want.

“‘Features’ is a good business model for Vizio because it solves problems for viewers, advertisers and content partners alike,” Steve DeMain, VP engagement, said in a statement.

In the coming months, channel updates on home & DIY, holidays, live concerts, nature-scape programming, among others, will be rolled out.

For content creators and media companies, curated channels offer an additional distribution touchpoint across for AVOD/free ad-supported TV viewers, while creating an additional revenue stream, and even more insight into what content resonates best with viewers.

“Our programming strategy delivers more of what our viewers love across multiple genres,” DeMain said. “And by developing these passionate audiences, we are not only building great sponsorship opportunities for brands, but we are also helping our content partners generate new revenue.”

Tubi to Stream Original Adult Animation Series ‘The Freak Brothers’; Lionsgate to Distribute Globally

Tubi Oct. 19 announced its first-ever star-studded original animated series, “The Freak Brothers,” based on the cult underground comic series, and will debut the first two episodes on Nov. 14. The series is produced by WTG Enterprises and distributed globally by Lionsgate.

The eight-episode series chronicles the escapades of a trio of stoner anti-establishment characters and their cat who wake up from a 50-year nap after smoking a magical strain of weed in 1969, and must adjust to life with a new family in present-day San Francisco.

The voice cast includes Woody Harrelson (“The Hunger Games” franchise, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”), Emmy Award and Golden Globe winner John Goodman (“The Big Lebowski,” “Monsters, Inc.”), Emmy Award and Grammy Award winner Tiffany Haddish (“Girls Trip,” “The Lego Movie 2”) and Pete Davidson (“Saturday Night Live,” “The King of Staten Island”), among others.

The series is based on comic book legend Gilbert Shelton’s “The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers.” Critiquing the establishment, while satirizing counterculture at the same time, the comic sold more than 45 million copies in 16 languages and was hailed by The Comics Journal as “One of the 100 Greatest Comics of the Century.” Starburns Industries and Pure Imagination Studios, the studios behind “Rick & Morty” and “The Simpsons: Brick Like Me,” handled the animation.

The series spearheads Tubi’s first foray into adult animation, as the Fox Entertainment AVOD platform expands its adult humor collection. The additional episodes from the first season will drop weekly on Sundays through Dec. 26.

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On Nov. 14, TV viewers will get a series sneak peek during a special 90-second trailer airing during Fox’s “Animation Domination” block in “Family Guy” (9:30-10:00 PM ET/PT).

“As we continue our expansion into original animation, a cornerstone of the FOX brand, we’re thrilled Tubi is joining the party with its first original animated series,” said Michael Thorn, President of Entertainment, Fox Entertainment, said “Freaky Brothers” represents continue expansion into original animation, a cornerstone of the Fox brand.

“With its counterculture roots, anti-establishment comedic POV and, as Adam said, an all-star team of cast and producers, [the series] is the perfect complement to Animation Domination and provides the ideal opportunity to not only grow Tubi’s audience, but take the animation genre to the next level in AVOD. Stay tuned for more original Tubi animated content soon,” Thorn said in a statement.

Jim Packer, president of worldwide television distribution at Lionsgate, said the deal with Fox represents a new “paradigm ” for distributing original animation.

“The timeless humor of ‘The Freak Brothers’ has resonated with audiences for years, and this edgy comedy gives it a fresh and inventive spin for a whole new generation of fans,” Packer said.

Deloitte Report: 84% of U.S. Consumers Spending More Time With Online, Rather Than In-Person Entertainment

The vast majority of U.S. consumers (84%) are spending more time with online, rather than in-person entertainment, according to Deloitte’s just released Digital Media Trends Fall Pulse Survey.

Meanwhile, more than 80% of U.S. respondents in the survey conducted in August 2021 said they remain concerned about COVID-19 variants, and about half (48%) said they spend more time on online entertainment versus six months ago.

Among other findings in the survey:

  • Both Boomers and Gen X still rank “watching TV shows or movies at home” as their favorite entertainment activity; “Playing video games” is still ranked as Gen Z’s preferred form of entertainment.
  • “Churn and return” behavior is most common with younger generations, with almost half of millennials (47%) and 34% of Gen Z cancelling and then re-subscribing to the same service later.
  • High cost and completing a TV show they signed up to watch are the top two reasons consumers cancelled an SVOD service.
  • 65% of consumers are engaging with at least one social media service several times a day.
  • 65% of respondents are frequent gamers, playing at least once a week; on average, these frequent gamers play for around 12 hours a week.

 

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The survey revealed that consumers are getting better at developing strategies to access online content while keeping their costs low. Among the findings:

  • 84% of respondents now pay for an SVOD service; the average household has four subscriptions — largely unchanged during the past year.
  • The churn rate — the number of people who have cancelled, or both added and cancelled, a paid SVOD service — has remained stable at about 38%, although it varies from service to service.
  • Many streaming video subscribers say they actively manage costs in some way, either by looking for deals or promotions, bundles, using friends’ or family members’ accounts, and other strategies.
  • Led by cost-sensitive and savvy millennials and Gen Zs, 65% of respondents reported using free ad-supported video services.

Resonate: 82% of U.S. Consumers Watch Some Form of OTT Content

A large majority — 82% — of U.S. consumers now watch some form of OTT content, with only 55% still watching cable TV, according to data from the from the “State of Streaming” report from Resonate, a provider of A.I.-driven consumer data and analytics.

The report suggests live TV resonates well with older demographics that are used to viewing live TV through traditional broadcast. The live TV streaming only audience skews older, with the largest age group being 45-54 years old, while the streaming on-demand only audience is on the younger side, with the largest group being 25-34 years old.

Streaming live-TV viewers are mainly using ad-support or free services (AVOD), such as Pluto TV, Roku Channel and Tubi TV. They under-index against all paid live TV services. Streaming live-TV-only viewers skew male. The majority uses Pluto TV to stream live TV programming. They enjoy programming produced by CBS and Fox, especially “American Dad” and “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

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Streaming on-demand only viewers skew female. The majority of the audience watches Netflix and Amazon Prime Video regularly. Out of the top four on-demand streaming services, their favorite shows are on Netflix.
This audience tends to binge-watch their favorite TV shows using their smart-TVs.

Resonate also examined the different characteristics among the customers of streaming services. According to the research, Peacock and Paramount+ subscribers vary significantly in terms of gender and tastes in TV shows. Peacock subscribers skew male, while Paramount+ subscribers skew female. Peacock subscribers prefer comedy shows, while the Paramount+ subscribers have more eclectic tastes, ranging from comedy to crime genres. Overall, both Peacock and Paramount+ subscribers are avid sports fans. However, the Peacock subscribers are supporters of their local professional sports teams, while the Paramount+ subscribers enjoy sports programming overall without any local professional team affiliations.

The Resonate proprietary data set includes more than 14,000 relevant data points that describe more than 230 million individual U.S. consumers, according to Resonate.

Redbox to Launch Third-Party SVOD App Platform

Taking a page from the Amazon Prime Video playbook, Redbox is assembling a branded subscription streaming offering featuring third-party apps on its digital AVOD/FAST platform.

The kiosk/digital distributor Oct. 15 announced a multi-faceted agreement with Curiosity Inc., to bring the latter’s subscription video-on-demand service, Curiosity Stream, and select content on its ad-supported VOD and free ad-supported streaming television streaming services. Redbox will also offer Curiosity Stream as a premium subscription offering when it bows a branded “SVOD Channels” in 2022.

Under the deal, the Curiosity Stream SVOD service will be made available to select Redbox customers on a promotional trial basis and promoted on Redbox’s 40,000 kiosks and digital streaming properties. Additionally, Redbox will license Curiosity content, which will be offered on Redbox’s AVOD and FAST streaming services in the coming months.

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In 2015, Amazon Prime Video debuted “Amazon Channels” featuring third-party SVOD apps to its Prime members. The platform has been credited with driving subscriptions to services such as Starz, the former HBO Now and other apps.

“Our customers will appreciate the high-quality content delivered by Curiosity Stream, and we’re excited to work with them to grow their viewership through distribution of their service on the Redbox app,” Jason Kwong, chief strategy and digital officer at Redbox, said in a statement.

“We are thrilled to partner with Redbox as they continue to expand their video streaming offerings,” said Brandon Fong, SVP of partnerships and distribution for Curiosity. “As the leading factual entertainment service, Curiosity is ideally positioned to deliver affordable, high-value entertainment to Redbox customers who want to know more about the world around them.”

Ampere: Streaming Device, AVOD Use on the Rise

With the ongoing push by ViacomCBS, Fox Entertainment and Roku to further their respective ad-supported VOD platforms Pluto TV, Tubi, and The Roku Channel, new data from Ampere Analysis finds that AVOD has joined SVOD as go-to destinations on streaming devices. Ownership of streaming devices has increased by 18% since the third quarter in 2019, before the pandemic began.

The London-based research firm said devices such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV or Google Chromecast are now in nearly two thirds of U.S. Internet homes and half of U.K. Internet homes.

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These streaming medias devices facilitate access to an array of free-to-view and paid video services and are helping to drive adoption of a wider range of streaming products. In the crowded domestic subscription market, AVOD platforms are growing in viewer engagement as users search for low-cost entertainment options to SVOD.

About 34% of domestic internet users have used an AVOD service such as Pluto TV, Tubi and The Roku Channel in the past month, compared with 17% in Q3 2020. Usage is growing particularly quickly among younger consumers. In Q3 2020, only 9% of 18- to 24-year-olds had watched AVOD services, compared with 30% in Q3 2021.

“The growth in AVOD usage partly reflects how expensive the streaming market is becoming,” analyst Minal Modha said in a statement.The fact that younger audiences are now engaging with AVOD will be welcome news for platform owners and will make the services even more attractive to [advertising] brands.”

 

SVOD Viewership Up Since Pandemic Began

New data from Criteo finds that 53% of U.K. survey respondents found content on SVOD services Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube more entertaining than their linear TV counterparts.

Fifty percent of respondents said they watch more streaming content than they did before the advent of COVID-19, with 62% saying they watch more paid streaming services than before the start of the pandemic.

Criteo also found that 59% of U.K. subscribers believe streaming services provide better value for money than cable or satellite TV.

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In addition to content, price factors significantly among streamers. About 33% of U.K. respondents spend more than £50 ($68) monthly on pay-TV, while 12.5% spend about the same on streaming services.

SVOD pioneer Netflix is the most popular (72%) streaming platform among respondents, with the BBC iPlayer at 68%. This compared with YouTube and ITV Hub at 47%, respectively, followed by Prime Video (45%), while 7% favor BritBox.

“While the pandemic has created massive disruption across all sectors, it is the streaming platforms that are winning big here,” Matthew Hogg, VP at Criteo, wrote in a note. “With many consumers planning to use their streaming services even more next year, we’re going to see one of the most competitive industries become even more competitive.”

Streaming remains strong entering 2022, with 29% of respondents saying they plan to spend even more time on SVOD. Generation Z and Millennials are likely (42%) to spend more time watching ad-supported free streaming services than the average consumer (29%, compared with SVOD (40% vs. 29%).

Gen Z and Millennials are more likely (44%) to spend time streaming video games compared to the general public (37%). Video is the preferred ad format, with 47% saying the ads are entertaining and engaging. Another 40% say they prefer ad variety and 37% want to see relevant information.

“As the video streaming landscape attracts even more eyeballs, next year promises to be one of the biggest years digitally for brands and advertisers,” Hogg said.

Univision Inks First-Look Deal With 3Pas Studios Ahead of Streaming Launch

Univision Communications has signed a first-look deal with actor Eugenio Derbez, his 3Pas Studios, and producing partner Ben Odell. Under the agreement, Univision will have the first look at all Spanish-language television and theatrical motion picture projects controlled by 3Pas Studios, including movies and series for subscription video-on-demand or theatrical release.

Univision will launch a global branded streaming service, including a new SVOD and an expanded free advertising-supported (AVOD) tier in 2022. More details for the service will be announced following the close of the Televisa-Univision merger.

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Ben Odell and Eugenio Derbez

Derbez and 3Pas Studios will develop and produce Spanish-language content across different genres and age groups for the SVOD platform. In addition, Derbez will help develop and acquire family-friendly content for the new “Derbez Channel,” which will initially launch in Latin America, on Univision’s streaming platform’s AVOD tier.

“Eugenio is a globally celebrated content creator whose vision and passion for storytelling are unmatched,” Pierluigi Gazzolo, President and Chief Transformation Officer at Univision, said in a statement. “This partnership is a testament to how we are doubling down on our commitment to building the best and largest Spanish-language streaming service in the world, one that will be the home to top-level creative Spanish-Language talent.”

3Pas Studios services their Spanish language business from offices in Los Angeles, Miami and Mexico City. Javier Williams, SVP of Spanish Content, oversees 3Pas Studio’s Spanish-language development and also heads 3Pas Studios’ production arm in Mexico, Visceral.

Pablo Calasso is Director of Production in Mexico for Visceral. Prior to working with Visceral, Calasso developed and produced shows in the scripted and unscripted space throughout Latin America including Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Peru and his native Argentina. Williams and Calasso manage a team of production and development executives located in Mexico.

Univision also has rights to TV shows starring Derbez, including the sitcoms “Al Derecho y al Derbez” and “La Familia P. Luche,” one of the Spanish-language longest-running comedy series in the United States, and the movie Instructions Not Included, which became the highest-grossing Spanish-language film of all time in the United States.

Fox Weather AVOD Streaming Service Launching Oct. 25

Fox Weather, an ad-supported streaming weather service, will launch Oct. 25. The new platform also hired veteran WABC-TV meteorologist Amy Freeze as an anchor.

Fox Weather will be available at foxweather.com and through the Fox Weather app for iOS and Android. It will also be available on Internet-connected TVs via Fox Now, the Fox News app, and Tubi.

Amy Freeze

“We have been working toward this moment for the last nine months and are thrilled to debut Fox Weather with our talented and innovative team, including Amy Freeze, whose versatility and decades of experience are a great addition,” Fox Weather president Sharri Berg said in a statement.

Utilizing the linear channel’s expansive news gathering units, along with Fox Television Stations’ team of 120 meteorologists, Fox Weather will offer users a comprehensive suite of weather products featuring local, regional, and national reporting, in addition to live programming and forecasting — the latter using multiple radar systems, including 3D.

A five-time Emmy award-winning meteorologist and television host, Freeze joins from the ABC owned and operated station WABC-TV in New York. Since 2011, she has been part of the station’s “Eyewitness News” weather team, where she also hosted Saturday and Sunday morning shows.

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