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 2016-2021 Samsung Smart TVs and is available on select Samsung Galaxy devices. Impact’s dedicated channel in 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,” said Jaime Pollack, Anthem’s chief revenue officer for its sports media group, 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’

FilmRise, the New York-based film and television studio and streaming network, 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,” said Max Einhorn, SVP, acquisitions and co-productions at FilmRise, 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 around 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 (1966-1971).  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 1953-1964. 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,” said Paul Brownstein 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.

Vizio Adds 10 Free AVOD Channels on SmartCast TVs

Vizio May 4 added 10 lifestyle streaming channels to SmartCast, its connected smart-TV operating system. The free ad-supported VOD channels include PeopleTV, QVC, HSN, Jack Hanna, Love Nature, Real Wild, Fuse Sweat, Absolute History, Revry and Horse & Country.

To support a growing consumer shift to streaming — and mine incremental revenue opportunities from AVOD — Vizio has aggressively expanded its free ad-supported services and subscription streaming apps. Total viewing time on SmartCast increased 156% in 2020, reaching 11.6 billion hours of viewing time.

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“With the launch of these additional lifestyle channels and apps, SmartCast viewers will be able to access even more content that aligns with their interests, their experiences, and their lives,” Katherine Pond, VP of business development for Vizio, said in a statement. “From entertainment news to nature and from travel to shopping and more, we’re committed to continually expanding our offering with diverse programming and content.”

The new channels can be found under the “Vizio Free Channels” section from the SmartCast Home screen and complement Irvine, Calif.-based Vizio’s WatchFree streaming service.

Channels include:

  • PeopleTV — Combining the access of People magazine and Entertainment Weekly, this channel features the red carpet, royal news, celebrity weddings, among other reality TV news.
  • QVC and HSN offer trademark livestream shopping, with curated, ever-changing collections of familiar brands and new products, from home and fashion to beauty, electronics, and jewelry.
  • The Jack Hanna Channel features the adventures of the famous zookeeper. From his days in the 1970s transforming Columbus, Ohio’s city zoo into a worldwide destination that in 2019 attracted more than 2 million visitors, Hanna has built a wildlife franchise encompassing TV shows, such as “Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild,” “Jack Hanna’s Wild Countdown” and “Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures,” which has been viewed in more than 60 countries.
  • Love Nature is a wildlife and nature brand that brings audiences stories about the natural world that foster a deeper understanding of and connection to the planet Earth. A library of original series and documentaries are produced by natural history filmmakers around the globe. Programming highlights include “Wildlife Icons,” “Secrets of Wild Australia,” “Arabian Inferno,” “Shark Squad,” “Wild Wild East,” “Land of Gremlins,” and more.
  • Real Wild is a wildlife and nature channel from Little Dot Studios. From rainforests to sparse deserts, from majestic birds to predatory sharks, Real Wild explores the wonders and dangers of nature.
  • Fuse Sweat is home to catalog workout shows from nostalgic names like Richard Simmons and Jane Fonda, to fit-pros like Billy Blanks and Denise Austin.
  • Absolute History is the home of fascinating and sometimes shocking stories from throughout history and the people that make history. The channel offers an immersive view of what life was like in the past and sheds new light on world history from the ancient civilizations to medieval Europe to the First and Second World Wars.
  • Revry is the global streaming media network for the inclusive 21st century queer community. The channel offers viewers a curated selection of authentic LGBTQ films, series, originals and music.
  • Horse & Country features equestrian sports, training and educational shows, entertainment, and documentaries. The programming lineup includes highlights from this year’s Carolina International 4, Master Classes with American Show Jumpers, Georgina Bloomberg and Laura Kraut, and documentary Victory Tour: America’s Top 4.

 

 

AVOD on the FAST Track: Free Services Are Changing the Streaming Landscape

In 2020, Wade Davis, former CFO of Viacom, had a decision to make. Should he steer hundreds of millions of dollars of private equity money into majority ownership of Univision, the Spanish-language media giant whose broadcast TV fortunes were sagging in an era of over-the-top video and Netflix? Davis pulled the trigger, becoming CEO of the Miami-based company with plans to revitalize the company through digital distribution.

And true to his word, on March 31 of this year, Univision announced the launch of PrendeTV, Spanish for “switch on” or “turn on,” and billed as the first FAST (“free ad-supported television”) streaming TV service targeting the U.S. Latino audience with more than 40 channels and 30,000 hours of Spanish-language content available across mobile and connected TV devices such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Google TV.

“PrendeTV is unlike anything our audience has access to today and will completely change the landscape for video streaming in Spanish-language media in the United States,” Davis said.

His words may ring prophetic, observers and analysts say, and not just in the Spanish-language market. Ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) is evolving as a cost-effective alternative to subscription streaming video with a new moniker, FAST, and corporate mojo. FAST takes the AVOD concept popularized by subscription streamers such as Hulu, which offers a discounted ad-supported plan, one step further by completely eliminating the cost to the viewer.

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Fox Corp., ViacomCBS and Comcast, among others, are investing heavily in FAST platforms such as Tubi, Pluto TV and Xumo, respectively. Other players include Redbox Free Live TV, The Roku Channel, IMDb TV and Crackle Plus, featuring video streams that look like linear television with program advertising stitched into the feed.

In January, Xumo reported 24 million average monthly viewers, up from 9.6 million prior to the Comcast acquisition. Tubi saw viewership jump 58% in 2020, including 33 million average monthly viewers through the fourth quarter. Equally important, viewers consumed 750 million hours of content in the second quarter, which was 70% higher than the previous corresponding period. And Pluto TV saw monthly viewers top 30 million.

The U.S., through FAST, is expected to triple AVOD revenue by 2025, reaching $24 billion. This would account for 45% of the global total, up from a 33% in 2019.

“This new wave of FAST has expanded the definition of AVOD, attracting significant attention,” David Sidebottom, analyst with Futuresource Consulting, wrote in a December report.

India leads the world in monthly AVOD users with more than half a billion, according to data from London-based research firm Omdia. The U.S. follows with nearly 200 million users.

To retain existing viewers, and lure new ones, AVOD is moving beyond catalog programming and offering original content and exclusives, including, for the first time, live sports, with the goal of driving revenue.
Fox, which paid $440 million for Tubi in 2020, expects the service to generate $300 million in ad revenue this year and $1 billion in a few years. Fox believes Tubi revenue will supplant its broadcast networks’ revenue within three years as the streamer widens its content portfolio and viewer appeal.

Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch said the platform is already profitable, with the company choosing to invest operating profits back into the business to help build up its profile. He cites Wall Street projections that suggest the AVOD business can over time mirror the same 20% to 30% margins generated by SVOD platforms.

“We’re not there yet, [but] we can win in a much more clever and careful way [than SVOD],” Murdoch told an investor group in March.

Tubi saw viewership jump 58% in 2020, including 33 million average monthly viewers through the fourth quarter. Equally important, viewers consumed 750 million hours of content in the second quarter, which was 70% higher than the previous corresponding period.

“We can win in the AVOD world,” Murdoch said.

This sentiment is shared by Galen Smith, CEO of Redbox, the venerable kiosk disc rental company. Since launching Redbox Free Live TV a year ago, the FAST platform has inked more than 60 third-party content channels, including Magnolia Pictures, Cheddar, TMZ and Shout! Factory TV.

“We’re trying to do what no one else does — meeting the content needs of our customers wherever and however we can,” Smith said. “They can get the latest movie releases at our kiosks; they can watch content instantly, digitally; and now we are giving our value-loving customers something more.”

Growing Revenue, Influence

The AVOD ecosystem has long been led by pioneer YouTube, which generated $18 billion in ad revenue in 2020 largely through user-generated videos. The platform is expected to generate $21 billion this year, according to Futuresource. Pluto TV and Roku, by comparison, realized $250 million and $1.2 billion, respectively.

To spur Pluto (and Paramount+) growth, ViacomCBS last October named Tom Ryan, founder of Pluto TV, the new CEO of ViacomCBS Streaming. The company recently announced a $3 billion stock sale to subsidize increased digital content spend on Pluto, which ViacomCBS acquired for $340 million in 2019.

“I think it’s fair to say the world is embracing free streaming video,” Ryan said on the earnings call. “It’s definitely a growing category.”

Hollywood is taking notice. Lionsgate, which operates subscription-based platforms Starz (in the U.S.), StarzArabia and Starzplay International, in 2020 generated more than $700 million in catalog revenue to third parties across multiple channels. The studio-distributor has yet to enter the AVOD market — a situation that could change as Lionsgate looks to increase incremental revenue from its TV shows and movies, according to co-chairman Michael Burns.

“The AVOD business is quickly becoming a nine-figure-a-year revenue business,” Burns told an investor event in March. “And that just came out of nowhere.”

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Distribution Diversity, Enhanced Content

To get wider traction among consumers, AVOD now positions itself as both a standalone streaming platform and as a conduit linking streaming video with television manufacturers. Brands such as Sony Bravia, Samsung, LG, Vizio, Hisense and TCL are partnering with FAST services to integrate video content via hundreds of channels distributed through their TV model user interfaces.

“The Smart TV has become a key battleground for AVOD,” analyst Sidebottom wrote in his December 2020 report.

Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, an operator of ad-supported streaming video networks, partnered with Sony Pictures Television in the deployment of joint-venture Crackle Plus and Popcornflix on linear-TV and VOD offerings. Expansion of Crackle is a key part of the company’s strategy driving AVOD viewership.

“Our aim is to make our free movie/TV content available to all viewers on all available platforms, including streaming devices, game consoles, connected TVs and FAST networks,” said Philippe Guelton, president of Crackle Plus. “As we add new distribution touchpoints and develop both new AVOD and linear channel offerings … we are capturing a growing audience of unique, hard-to-reach consumers for our advertising partners.”

“Chicken Soup has done a remarkable job integrating Crackle into their business,” adds Erik Moreno, EVP of mergers and acquisitions, and corporate development, for Sony Pictures Entertainment. “We look forward to strengthening our relationship as we move forward.”

Crackle recently launched its app on connected TVs using the VIDAA operating system. Crackle programming includes series “Breaking Beauty,” “Spides,” “Road to Race Day,” “On Point,” “Insomnia,” “Yelawolf: A Slumerican Life” and “Going From Broke,” and feature films Corporate Animals, Blue Iguana, Anything is Possible: The Serge Ibaka Story, Lennox Lewis: The Untold Story, Robert the Bruce, Cleanin’ Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters and The Clearing.

Meanwhile, Pluto TV is now available on LG Smart TV models sold in the United States. Content from Paramount Pictures, BET, MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central is offered on nearly 100 branded channels as part of the LG Channels network.

“Through this partnership, we have another opportunity to accelerate our mission to entertain by bringing a lineup of programming with instant discoverability,” said Brendon Thomas, VP of distribution for Pluto TV.

NBCUniversal placed its free ad-supported Peacock streaming tier on LG Channels, featuring more than 7,500 hours of movies, shows, live and on-demand programming across news, sports, reality and late night.

“With increasing consumption on smart TVs, we are happy to make it easy for Peacock customers … to stream all our content,” said Maggie McLean Suniewick, president of business development and partnerships for Peacock.

Samsung developed its own Samsung TV Plus FAST platform, offering 160 channels.

Fox in March updated carriage agreements with the National Football League that include landmark direct-to-consumer distribution such as AVOD. The company will create an “NFL experience” on Tubi consisting of fee-based premiere VOD action as well as condensed free ad-supported games throughout the season.

“The new digital rights provide us with the flexibility to deliver the NFL to customers in expanded and innovative ways,” Murdoch said.

Fox CFO Steve Tomsic said Tubi represents a “broadening of the future” for network television, which continues to see ratings decline as viewers migrate online. Broadcast assets such as “The Masked Singer” are being co-distributed on Tubi to give the platform an “extra special” edge, Tomsic said.

Cinedigm targets faith and family (Dove Channel), comic conventions (CONtv), horror (Screambox and Bloody Disgusting TV), and, most recently, independent cinema (Fandor) on both AVOD and SVOD.

“We think that, when launched globally at scale, these [OTT video] segments can be huge revenue opportunities,” said Erick Opeka, president of Cinedigm Networks.

The Roku Channel on March 19 launched “Cypher,” a Canadian-made FBI series featuring seven hour-long episodes. The channel will also become the exclusive destination for more than 75 shows and documentaries acquired from short-lived SVOD platform Quibi.

Speaking on Roku’s most recent fiscal call, CEO Anthony Wood said the content acquisitions underscored the appeal of AVOD, adding that the growth of The Roku Channel is twice as fast as the Roku platform, ending 2020 with a record 63 million monthly viewers.

“As our scale grows, we are sourcing different types of content,” Wood said. “The Quibi deal fits into that, in that it’s premium content that we think will appeal to Roku viewers.”

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Targeted Advertising

Roku in May kicks off the IAB 2021 NewFronts Lineup as the first presenter of content to media buyers. The positioning underscores how important AVOD/FAST has become to marketers.

“We’ve seen first-hand the role TV streaming has played in consumers and marketers’ lives in the last year,” said Roku’s Alison Levin, VP of global ad-revenue and marketing solutions. “[We] look forward to sharing how marketers can buy TV like you watch TV.”

Roku also announced the launch of an advertising brand studio to produce creative spots for over-the-top video tailored for marketers. The unit aims to help marketers go beyond the traditional 30-second TV ad, to commissioned short-form TV programs, interactive ads and related content.

“The shift to TV streaming has accelerated,” said Dan Robbins, VP of ad marketing at Roku.

Roku inked a deal with “Funny or Die,” a comedy website whose executives Chris Bruss and Brian Toombs are joining the streaming media pioneer, along with Rachel Daly Helfman from Snap. The plan is to create ad-supported streaming video content targeting specific viewers. For example, the brand studio worked with TurboTax to present streaming access to college basketball’s March Madness national championship tournament. The advertiser, working with Roku, built an interactive “College Basketball Game Guide” offering free content and augmented reality games playable on the TV screen or mobile device.

A 2020 study by Roku and IPG Media Lab found that branded experiences, together with video advertising, could stimulate four times the purchase intent among consumers.

“Branded experiences on the Roku platform helped us shift ad budgets quickly to TV streaming and go beyond traditional advertising to move the needle on purchase consideration,” said Lisa McQueen, media manager with Lexus.

A separate study in the U.K. found media buyers are taking to FAST in a major way. Data from Unruly suggests that more than two-thirds (67%) of advertising executives think FAST is a more-effective (i.e., less-expensive) option than linear-TV advertising. The report found that 100% of media agencies and 77% of brands surveyed plan to invest more in targeted streaming video marketing over the next 12 months. Unruly found that 54% of consumers are spending more time watching FAST content since the start of the pandemic. With a plethora of new channels and devices entering the market, the competition for AVOD attention is rising rapidly.

Alex Khan, international managing director at Unruly, said brands are much more likely to want additional training on the benefits of FAST (48%) and audience-specific insights (48%) compared to traditional ad agencies.

“With a possible return to normal following the COVID-19 pandemic on the horizon, we believe our research highlights CTV’s ability to deliver across a multitude of goals throughout the purchase funnel,” Khan said.

Rebecca Waring, global VP of insights and solutions, said the report emphasizes that there is no single driver behind the growth of FAST, as buyers are attracted by a broad range of benefits.

“In our experience, [FAST] campaigns are being judged on a variety of KPIs (key performance indicators) that span viewability, incremental reach and brand lift,” she said. “It sounds like a challenge for one platform to satisfy so many different motivations and performance criteria, but according to our research, it appears [FAST] is rising to that challenge so far.”

“More options mean more time that consumers spend enjoying content,” adds Mark Fisher, president and CEO of OTT.X, the trade association supporting the distribution of OTT. “Both business models — AVOD and FAST — are here to stay and will continue to grow both as revenue streams for content owners and as commonplace entertainment platforms for consumers. These are no longer considered ‘down-market’ alternatives. Instead, they are seen as competitive options for consumers to access the plethora of informational and entertainment content being produced — enabling an uptick in niche and long-tail as well as more-general viewing.”

Ad-Supported DistroTV Adds Bloomberg News Content

Free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) platform DistroTV April 14 announced the addition of Bloomberg TV and Bloomberg Quicktake to its platform of more than 150 channels roster to viewers in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.

“Bloomberg Media is known for featuring independent voices who equip viewers with the news and analysis necessary to have an informed take on the latest in finance, technology, culture and politics,” Navdeep Saini, founder/CEO of DistroScale, parent company to DistroTV, said in a statement. 

Bloomberg TV and Bloomberg Quicktake are two global networks from a newsroom of 2,700 journalists and analysts in 120 countries. Bloomberg TV delivers global financial news and market-moving analysis with shows such as Bloomberg Surveillance and Wall Street Week. Bloomberg Quicktake is a global streaming and social video network for a new generation of leaders and professionals, covering the biggest stories across business, technology, climate, culture, politics, society and personal finance. 

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“The addition of Bloomberg on DistroTV extends our reach to new audiences … on streaming,” said M. Scott Havens, chief growth officer and global head of strategic partnerships for Bloomberg Media. 

Since its launch in 2019, DistroTV has seen rapid user growth, with viewership quadrupling in the last six months and total watch time up more than 800%. 

Other content channels include Magnolia Pictures — CineLife, Euro News, Reelz, Law&Crime, Qello Concerts by Stingray, Magellan TV, People TV and TD Ameritrade, among others. Independent channels include Kweli TV, which spotlights the history and global diversity of the Black community; Canela TV, featuring Spanish programming; Latido Music, the leading channel for Latin music; BritAsia Live for British Asians around the globe; Filmeraa, short-form movies and television in Indian and Korean; Venus TV, which features Bollywood movies and culture.

Report: Pluto TV to Surpass $1 Billion in Ad Revenue by 2022

Pluto TV, the free ad-supported TV streaming service (FAST) owned and operated by ViacomCBS, is set to increase 2021 revenue nearly 78% to $786.7 million, according to new data from eMarketer. The research firm contends the platform will surpass $1 billion in revenue by 2022 — underscoring the rise in popularity of streaming media for marketers.

Citing third-party survey research, the report suggests 42% of ad buyers will use streaming video for the first time this year, with another 56% continuing the practice — which includes online and linear TV distributors. Indeed, the report found that a majority (60%) of AVOD/FAST ad revenue will come from linear TV, followed by digital display (37%) and other sources.

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Tremor Video Launching Connected TV Data Tracking Service

With the rise in ad-supported VOD and “free ad-supported streaming television” or FAST, Tremor Video March 23 announced the upcoming launch of its data-driven TV Intelligence platform. Building upon its experience in Connected TV (CTV) and addressable TV retargeting, Tremor contends its new software will allow advertisers to reach the most relevant consumers through greater breadth and depth of audience data assets.

Launching this May, Tremor Video’s TV Intelligence platform will leverage a set of television viewing and audience data coupled with video to support advertisers’ TV and cross-device media strategies. The software aims to combine “automatic content recognition” (ACR) and set-top box data across a domestic TV viewing footprint of more than 12 million households and 100 million addressable devices.

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Other platform features include combining “rich data sets” with advanced and customizable measurement solutions, working with a team of experts committed to developing campaign strategies unique to the nuanced objectives and needs of each individual client.

Tremor Video entered TV data analysis in 2016, strengthening its marketplace position by acquiring RhythmOne in 2019 and Unruly in 2020. The company’s Unruly subsidiary is recognized as a top supply platform, ranking the No. 1 direct CTV supply partner among Roku’s key app categories.

Cinedigm Launches 11 Streaming Channels on SelectTV

Cinedigm and FreeCast announced an agreement that will bring 11 of Cinedigm’s streaming, free ad-supported television (FAST) channels to SelectTV and other SmartGuide-powered services.

The SmartGuide is an aggregated television platform, providing on-demand and linear television that includes ad-supported, subscription, and pay-per-view content. The company’s distribution via the internet and ability to monetize content via dynamic ad-insertion (DAI) mean that even channels with smaller audiences can be commercially viable, and larger channels can find new viewers online as more watching transitions to the web.

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“As the television viewing audience continues to shift away from established cable and satellite providers onto OTT, it is critical that Cinedigm make it’s channels widely available,” Tony Huidor, GM of digital Nnetworks. “It is through the high-scalability of our Matchpoint platform and via partners, such as FreeCast, that we can ensure our viewers that they can find our content on every platform and every OTT service out there.”

The channels include:

  • Bambu — Chinese cinema and TV;
  • Bloody Disgusting — A top horror destination featuring an assortment of celebrated cult favorites, original series and exclusive content;
  • The Bob Ross Channel — Official channel dedicated to the work of iconic painter Bob Ross;
  • ComedyDynamics — The tastemaker for comedy featuring standup performances by Jim Gaffigan, Tiffany Haddish, Iliza Shlesinger, Marc Maron and many more;
  • CONtv — The destination for cult and retro film and TV series;
  • ContvAnime — 24/7 anime;
  • Docurama — Award-winning true-life documentaries, films and TV series. An eclectic mix of thought-provoking entertainment;
  • Dove Channel — Family movies and iconic TV series including “Heartland,” “The Andy Griffith Show” and “The Lucy Show­”;
  • MyTime — Heart-stopping thrillers, date-night rom-coms, heartwarming holiday favorites, and original programming;
  • So … RealBritish and Australian lifestyle and reality TV series, including “Gordon Behind Bars” and “Only Way is Essex,” from All3 Media;
  • Whistle SportsSports and lifestyle entertainment.

 

“We’re excited to work with Cinedigm and add their channels to SelectTV, because that’s what this business has always been all about,” said FreeCast CEO William Mobley. “We help consumers get access to channels that match their interests, and we help programmers reach audiences that are interested in their content. And we do it for both much more affordably than traditional TV networks and providers do.”

CPO Neal Mohan: 41% of AVOD Consumption Happens on YouTube

NEWS ANALYSIS — As the ad-supported VOD market skyrockets, including adoption of a new FAST acronym (free ad-supported streaming television), major media companies are clamoring to get a seat on the bandwagon.

“Not so fast,” would appear to be the advice of Neal Mohan, chief product officer of YouTube, who, in a March 10 blog post following comments given at the IAB leadership event, contends the Google-owned streaming platform already has dominant market share in the AVOD ecosystem.

YouTube CPO Neal Mohan

Mohan says 41% of all ad-supported VOD viewing is currently done on YouTube, a reasonable assessment considering the platform, along with Netflix, literally created the streaming video market.

According to eMarketer, more than 106 million U.S. households are projected to watch streaming content in 2021, surpassing pay-TV.  More than 82% of Internet-connected TV reach occurs through five streaming services: Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Hulu and Disney+, according to Comscore. Only two of the platforms sell ads: Hulu and YouTube.

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“All of this makes clear how Internet-connected TV has opened a significant new chapter for video on YouTube and beyond,” Mohan wrote.

The executive claims 70% of YouTube viewers have purchased products advertised on the platform. Last December, more than 120 million people in the U.S. streamed YouTube or YouTube TV on their TV screens.

“There’s another interesting viewing behavior emerging,” Mohan wrote. “A new generation of viewers chooses to watch YouTube primarily on the TV screen: Also in December, over a quarter of logged-in YouTube CTV viewers in the U.S. watched content almost exclusively on the TV screen.”

Google this month will roll out YouTube Shorts, a mobile phone-centric platform that aims to compete with TikTok, enabling creators and artists to shoot snappy videos. Currently, Shorts is available in beta in India. Since the beginning of December, the number of Indian channels using Shorts creation tools has more than tripled, and the platform’s Shorts player is now receiving more than 3.5 billion daily views globally, according to the company.

“In the coming weeks, we’ll begin expanding the beta to the U.S., unlocking our tools to even more creators so they can get started with Shorts,” Mohan wrote.

Magnolia Pictures Expands AVOD Presence

Magnolia Pictures, the indie theatrical/home entertainment distributor, along with its sister company Spotlight Cinema Networks, is expanding availability of CineLife, the upstart linear streaming channel in combination with its AVOD library.

Magnolia is working DistroTV, a free advertising-supported streaming TV (FAST) service with more than 150 channels. The platform will offer CineLife and its eclectic set of film and TV content. DistroTV is available across Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and on iOS and Android devices.

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With the addition of the CineLife content, DistroTV viewers have access to films such as BAFTA Award winning and Academy Award nominated I Am Not Your Negro; Academy Award winner I Am Love, starring Academy Award and BAFTA winner Tilda Swinton; the Academy Award and Golden Globe nominated A Royal Affair, starring Oscar winner Alicia Vikander and Mads Mikkelsen; Two Lovers, starring Oscar winners Joaquin Phoenix and Gwenyth Paltrow; and Night Catches Us, starring Anthony Mackie. Additional titles streaming on CineLife include Deadfall, Hammer of the Gods, I Saw the Devil, and Melancholia and Mother, among others.