DEG Study: While Most U.S. Streamers Use Top SVOD Services, They Are Aware of Specialty Services and Want It All Simpler

Most streaming video consumers use the top subscription VOD players, but they are also aware of and patronize some of the many smaller specialty streaming services on offer. They like the choices the streaming world is giving them, but would prefer subscribing, watching and paying were simpler.

That’s according to a study commissioned by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group and conducted by Smith Geiger Group in July and August 2021. The study surveyed 1,536 U.S. streaming media consumers aged 18-65, 513 of which subscribed to at least one “specialty” service (Showtime, Redbox AMC+, Starz, etc.) beyond the “majors” (Netflix, Disney+, etc.).

“SVOD services predictably dominate usage but awareness among specialty services is really broadly distributed and very high,” said Amy Jo Smith, president and CEO of the DEG. “While streamers subscribe to three or four of their must have services, they are also looking for that specialty service that really speaks to them, their hobbies, their interests, and they’re willing to pay to get that.

“We also found that we have a lot more work to do with simplicity and ease of use, regardless of content or genre.”

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More than half (54%) of respondents in the survey said they watched SVOD services at least once a day, one-third (35%) said they watched them once a week for a total of 89% watching them at least once a week. More than half (57%) said they stream an AVOD/FAST (ad-supported) service at least once a week.

Interestingly, more than one-quarter (26%) said they watch digital purchases at least once a week and another quarter (24%) said they watched a Blu-ray or DVD. One-fifth (19%) said they rent content digitally at least once a week.

Among major SVOD services, Netflix led the pack with 80% of those surveyed using or subscribing to it and 99% aware of it. Amazon Prime Video came in second at 67% and 98%. Hulu landed third at 59% and 97%. Disney+ was fourth at 54% and 97%. And HBO Max came in fifth at 42% and 96%.

Fewer survey respondents predictably subscribed to specialty services, but awareness of such services was high. Of specialty services, 21% said they used or subscribed to and 93% were aware of Showtime; 20% said they used or subscribed to and 92% were aware of Starz; 19% said they used or subscribed to and 90% were aware of Redbox; 13% said they used or subscribed to and 81% were aware of BET+; and 13% said they used or subscribed to and 79% were aware of AMC+.

“Even though not everyone is using all of these services, awareness is exceptionally high,” said Smith Geiger’s Dan Reines.

Among ad-supported services, 30% said they watched and 78% were aware of Tubi; 28% said they watched and 80% were aware of Pluto; and 20% said they watched and 74% were aware of IMDb TV.

Major-service-only streamers, one-third of which had young kids at home, were primarily female (55%) and had an average age of 41.4 years. Meanwhile, specialty streamers, more than half of which (52%) had young kids in the home, were primarily male (59%) and had an average age of 40.4. Specialty streamers paid $165 a month on TV versus $81 for those that just used the majors.

New service signup was high among respondents, with 78% saying they signed up for a new service in the past six months. Still, so was churn, with nearly a third (32%) saying they canceled or suspended a service in the past six months.

“People are moving around a lot,” Reines said.

As far as the interface with streaming, consumers want more simplicity. More than half are somewhat or very interested in bundled services (58%) and in a bundled plan in which they could pay for multiple services in a single bill (57%). Less than half (45%) said they were interested in a streaming service that comes bundled with hardware.

“People are looking for an easier way to do everything, and there is some clear frustration about the hoops they have to jump through,” said Reines.

“The common thread is, ‘I just want it to be easy,’” added Smith Geiger’s Chris Lang.

More than half of respondents said they prefer ad-free services and 19% said they prefer services with ads. Respondents were critical of repetitive streaming ads. Meanwhile, six in 10 ad-supported streaming viewers would consider an ad-free upgrade, with specialty streamers even more willing to upgrade at 68%. The mean extra cost they would be willing to pay to upgrade was $4.53 ($5.65 for specialty subscribers).

Hub: Consumers Ended 2021 Using Almost Six TV Content Sources

The avalanche of linear and online TV, coupled with subscription streaming VOD, AVOD and FAST channels, resulted in the average consumer accessing almost six different sources for TV content, according to new year-end data from Hub Entertainment Research. That’s double the TV access points used in 2018.

Hub attributes the increase to the launch of new streaming platforms; billions being spent on original content; and an enduring pandemic that continues to keep many viewers at housebound.

The report found that with the surge in streaming services available, 40% of consumers today use three or more of the five biggest SVOD services, which include Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu and HBO Max. That’s up from 28% just a year ago.

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While each of these platforms offers thousands of titles to select from — more TV shows and movies than the average person could watch even if they did nothing else — the fact that many people are using so many streaming platforms underscores just how tight the competition for viewers’ attention and time has become.

“As the TV experience evolves, SVOD ‘stacking’ has more impact than perhaps anything else,” Jon Giegengack, founder of Hub, said in a statement. “Viewers are excited about the vast amount of content to choose from. But they need an efficient way to manage all those platforms, which creates an opportunity for aggregators. And for those creating and marketing shows, the competition for each slice of disposable time is tighter than ever.”

Nielsen Launches Solution to Help Connected-TV Operators and Advertisers Better Target Consumers

Nielsen Jan. 4 announced the launch of a new research solution, Streaming Signals, which helps connected-TV operators and advertisers better understand who is watching a show within a household, according to the company.

Streaming Signals unbundles household viewing, allowing “both media buyers and media sellers to optimize and measure CTV reach for more efficient advertising, maximizing ad revenue and delivery to streaming audiences,” according to Nielsen.

Using custom machine learning models to determine who is in the household based on historical viewership data, Streaming Signals delivers a signal within 50 milliseconds to CTV operators of who is currently streaming program content instantly, according to Nielsen.

The solution is made possible by using machine-learning algorithms, viewing from Nielsen’s panel data, and CTV provider viewership data, according to Nielsen. Once integrated, the CTV provider will notify the Nielsen system and will receive a signal containing information regarding who is most likely watching within the household.

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“For example, if ‘Sons of Anarchy’ is being watched within a household, the 35-year-old male likely watching the show will be shown an auto ad instead of a yogurt ad, giving CTV operators the ability to sharpen ad delivery from their inventory,” read the Nielsen release.

“Nielsen Streaming Signals brings a layer of unmatched real-time, person-level demographic precision to audience optimization,” Ameneh Atai, GM of digital and advanced TV at Nielsen, said in a statement. “We know that the media industry is going through accelerated change, switching to a streaming-first approach, and with an audience watching programming whenever, wherever and on a number of devices. Nielsen is the only one that is unbundling the household because we are the only ones that sit at the intersection of the streaming behavior and audience data.”

Traditionally, clients have looked at on-target percentage when evaluating advertising on CTV. Streaming Signals lets clients to “positively impact” that percentage by knowing before the ad is served who is behind the CTV screen, according to Nielsen.

A.I. and Machine Learning to Boom in Media and Entertainment Industry in 2022

Artificial intelligence and machine learning in the media and entertainment industry will boom in 2022, according to ABI Research’s new white paper 70 Technology Trends That Will—and Will Not—Shape 2022.

In the white paper, ABI Research analysts identified 35 trends that will shape the technology market and 35 others that, although attracting huge amounts of speculation and commentary, are less likely to move the needle over the next 12 months.

The role of A.I. and machine learning will increase significantly in 2022, with revenue forecasted to surpass $9.5 billion in 2022 when video ad tech is included, according to the white paper. Due to competitive pressures from direct-to-consumer services, incumbents (i.e., pay-TV operators, broadcasters) will have to reduce costs, limit churn and extract as much value as possible from existing customers. A.I./M.L.’s role here will increase to better target households with promotions, automate more workflows, and better secure the operators’ content and services, according to ABI.

A.I./M.L. will also play a growing role in the ad tech space to improve personalization and contextually aware advertisements and serve as grounds for differentiation. This is especially critical following changes to third-party tracking devices (i.e., Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) and third-party cookies) and increasing focus on privacy, according ABI. The corollary of these trends is that the ad market will not suffer as severely as some had feared due to the changing privacy landscape.

“The fallout from COVID-19 prevention measures, the process of transitioning from pandemic to endemic disease, and global political tensions weigh heavily on the coming year’s fortunes,” Stuart Carlaw, chief research officer at ABI Research, said in a statement. “This white paper is a tool for our readers to help shape their understanding of the key critical trends that look set to materialize in 2022 as the world begins to emerge from the shadow of COVID-19. It also highlights those much-vaunted trends that are less likely to have meaningful impact in 2022.”

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On the other hand, the metaverse won’t arrive anytime soon, ABI predicts. The metaverse, despite all the headlines and investments, will not arrive in 2022 or within the typical five-year forecast window. “The metaverse is still more of a buzzword and vision than a fully-fledged end goal with a defined date of arrival,” according to ABI. “What we have today is a number of tech companies building their version of a ‘metaverse,’ but this multiverse is not fully interconnected, does not yet widely employ open standards, and certainly has not fully embraced Extended Reality (XR) — all tenets of the metaverse vision (some would also add the crypto economy to the list, which is also not in place).”

It may take the better part of a decade before that “completed” form of the metaverse begins to take shape, ABI predicts. When the metaverse does arrive, it will truly transform the way we live our lives and, in the process, generate tremendous opportunities for a host of technologies, including 5G/6G, edge and cloud compute, XR, and A.I./M.L., according to ABI.

Nielsen to Unveil Media Measurement Advancements at CES 2022; Admits Error in Viewing Tally

At the upcoming CES 2022 in Las Vegas, Nielsen announced it will reveal a step toward Nielsen One, its single cross-platform measurement solution, showcasing its newest advancement, Nielsen One Alpha deduplicated ad measurement.

Meanwhile, the research firm is admitting an error in measuring out-of-home viewing, according to a report from Broadcasting and Cable. The firm informed clients that it didn’t include out-of-home viewing recorded by its Portable People Meters in its ratings starting in September 2020.

Nielsen blamed the problem on a software kink. “As a result, out-of-home viewing estimates may be understated. While there is little to no impact to most telecasts, we did find larger variances for events that tend to yield larger out-of-home audiences such as live sporting events,” a Nielsen letter to clients read. Nielsen added out-of-home viewing last year.

Alpha is the first iteration of Nielsen One which will continue to evolve with new feature additions, enhancements, and model improvements leading up to the launch of Nielsen One in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to the company.

Disney and Magna join several agencies, advertisers and publishers as Nielsen One Alpha participants from both the buy and sell sides of the industry.

“There’s a critical need for the evolution of measurement to truly reflect audiences and engagement, and Disney is uniquely positioned to help define and develop that roadmap,” Julie DeTraglia, head of research, insights and analytics for Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, said in a statement. “We are pleased to join the Nielsen One Alpha program to ensure it accurately creates a holistic view of ad performance and content viewership for the industry.”

Nielsen One Alpha will be specific to ad campaigns, unveiling the first cross-platform measurement system of its kind that offers both comparability and audience deduplication across all screens (linear TV, connected TV, computer and mobile), according to the company. Media buyers and sellers will for the first time have the most holistic view of their ads across consumer delivery systems and platforms in a harmonized and holistic manner — crucial as the linear and digital landscapes continue to rapidly converge, the company announced. The deduplicated ad measurement metrics account for age and gender information.

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“We are pleased to be working with Nielsen to provide insight and feedback regarding Nielsen One and ensure it delivers on its promise of being a truly holistic cross-screen measurement solution,” Brian Hughes, EVP and  managing director of audience intelligence and strategy for Magna, said in a statement.

“All our hard work this past year has positioned us to take this significant step in fundamentally changing the game and providing the industry with what it wants, needs and deserves,” Karthik Rao, chief operating officer of  Nielsen, said in a statement. “We are on track to deliver our single cross-platform measurement solution in the fourth quarter of 2022, as planned and in a manner that will support the $100 billion video advertising ecosystem. The Alpha launch serves as a clear proof point in our ability to deliver and we are working closely with a diverse group of clients on this important step. In fact, Nielsen One will bring together all the intelligence we have to date in order to help clients capitalize on consumers’ rapidly shifting media habits.”

Participants in this early Alpha range from select agencies, advertisers, digital publishers and networks.

Cinedigm Bows Nine FAST Channels on LG Smart TVs

Cinedigm Dec. 22 announced that nine of its streaming networks are now available via on LG Smart TVs, including LG OLED TVs, as a free, ad-supported service integrated into the television and channel guide.

“Smart TVs have transformed the way viewers consume content with connected TVs becoming the dominant viewing medium for hundreds of millions of viewers,” Jennifer Soltesz, VP of business development and strategy at Cinedigm, said in a statement. “Introducing these streaming channels on LG Smart TVs now expands Cinedigm’s presence across virtually all major television manufacturers in the world.”

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The channels include:

The Bob Ross Channel (United States & Canada): the late painter has been entertaining audiences with his calm artistic style since 1983. The channel contains the entire catalog of Ross’ television series, “The Joy of Painting.”

Dove Channel (United States): featuring family-themed entertainment, including comedy classics like The Little Rascals, young adult series The Saddle Club, dramas Sue Thomas F.B. Eye, and faith favorites like The Ultimate Gift.

Real Madrid TV (United States & Canada): a channel dedicated to one of the most recognized soccer brands in world. The channel provides viewers one-of-a-kind access to matches, showing three matches per week during the season of Real Madrid’s La Liga games, as well as their UEFA Champions League and Cup tournaments. In addition, the channel airs classic matches, exclusive club insight, breaking news, press conferences, training time and more.

El Rey Network (United States & Canada): the Latinx-infused, English-language channel founded by director Robert Rodriguez has broken into the digital space featuring grindhouse, cult classic action and horror/sci-fi films as well as favorites The Director’s Chair, Rebel Without a Crew and The Chuey Martinez Show.

Lonestar (United States & Canada): provides viewers a look back into the golden age of Hollywood, with a network devoted to classic westerns. With hundreds of hours of content, including films Blue Steel, McLintock! and Angel and the Badman, and classic TV shows “Bonanza,” “The Lone Ranger” and “The Roy Rogers Show.”

MyTime Movie Network (United States): a channel dedicated to women, offering access to female-led movies, series and lifestyle content. Featuring original and exclusive films and series, MyTime offers an experience equal to paid alternatives through an array of female-led thrillers, romantic comedies, holiday content, reality series, and more.

The Country Network (United States & Canada): a channel devoted to country music lovers with a mix of music-centric and original programming. The Country Network provides viewers with an intimate look at today’s country superstars and the rising stars, as well as devoted blocks of their favorite music videos.

So … Real (Canada): From the bizarre to the heart-warming, So … Real has all your reality TV cravings covered. Combining the best of British and international content, So … Real showcases premium reality series alongside fascinating documentaries from award-winning producers. From Tattoo Fixers to Air Rescue, Kids and Counting to Helicopter Heroes, our shows offer both familiar favorites and fresh finds, to make sure you’re never bored.

The Only Way Is Essex (United States & Canada): the international series has been a hit on both sides of the pond. Featuring the first 13 seasons of the reality show, viewers won’t have to miss a moment of the characters they love to hate and hate to love.

Sony Canal FAST Service Available on LG Channels, Redbox; Launches New Series

Sony Canal, the free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) suite of channels from Sony Pictures Television for Spanish speaking viewers in the United States, announced its channels are now available on LG Channels and Redbox. Sony Canal also announced new series launched in December, along with special holiday programming.

Sony Canal channels also stream on Samsung TV Plus, The Roku Channel, Pluto TV, Plex, Xumo and Vizio SmartCast.

New series that made their Sony Canal debut in December include “El Sexo Debil,” “Loco por vos” (Argentina) and “La Niñera” (Argentina). Special holiday marathons and programming include “Doña Barbara,” “Rosario Tijeras,” “La Niñera” (Mexico), “La Suegra,” “Ruleta Rusa” and “Escape Perfecto” (Colombia). 

Sony Canal Novelas, dedicated to the world’s most popular classic telenovelas and modern serial dramas, features several new series. “El Sexo Debil” (Mexico) follows the story of a father and his sons who, one day, are suddenly and inexplicably abandoned by all the women in their lives. “Zorro: La Espada y la Rosa,” based on Johnston McCulley’s characters, follows nobleman Diego de la Vega as he takes sword in hand as the masked hero, Zorro, to fight for justice and defend the poor against corrupt government officials​. “El Mariachi,” based on the Robert Rodriguez film of the same name, follows a young mariachi musician who is mistaken as a hired assassin and inadvertently thrown into a war with the cartels. “Verdad Oculta” is a Colombian action-packed police crime drama.

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Sony Canal Novelas holiday programming includes “Doña Bárbaram,” an action-packed drama taking place on isolated acres of land without any semblance of civilization, and “Rosario Tijeras,” a Mexican adaptation of the popular Colombian telenovela of the same name that brings forward topics of class, race and the impact of drug cartels in a Latino neighborhood.

The Sony Canal Comedias channel brings “Loco por vos,” an Argentinian adaptation of the highly popular American TV series “Mad About You” set in Buenos Aires, following the trials and tribulations of a young newlywed couple; “La Niñera,” an Argentinian adaptation of “The Nanny” following the misadventures of Flor Finkel, an extravagant woman who starts working as a nanny for a very wealthy family; “Los Caballeros Las Prefieren Brutas​,” a character-driven, comedy-drama dealing with modern relationships in contemporary Latin America; “La Suegra” (Colombia), which follows Victoria Maldonado, a famous talk show host in the United States who is forced to return home to Colombia only to discover her children have driven her to bankruptcy and her old flame is in a relationship with her best friend; and “Casado Con Hijos,” a Chilean adaptation of the U.S. TV series “Married With Children.”

Sony Canal Competencias, dedicated to reality competition shows, features “Escape Perfecto,” the Colombian adaptation of the competition series “Raid the Cage,” and “Escape Perfecto,” the Mexican adaptation of “Raid the Cage.”

Sony Canal Competencias holiday programming includes “Ruleta Rusa” (“Russian Roulette,” Chile), a competition series hosted by Diana Bolocco that is the ultimate game of chance, where every question could cause a contestant to literally “drop out” of the game, and “Escape Perfecto” (Colombia).

Cinedigm Inks Streaming Content Deal With Shout! Factory

Cinedigm Dec. 20 announced a streaming deal with Shout! Factory, giving the latter’s ad-supported Shout! Factory TV platform access to more than 40 movies and TV series, including The English Teacher, 22 Bullets and season one of “Wolfblood.” In addition, Cinedigm will receive more than 120 Shout Factory films and TV series to distribute across its streaming channels, including Fandor, Screambox and Bloody Disgusting TV.

“Given our long-standing relationship with Shout! Factory, we are furthering our company’s objectives to offer our catalog to targeted audiences,” Yolanda Macias, chief content officer at Cinedigm, said in a statement.

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Shout! Factory titles streaming on Cinedigm platforms include:

  • The Plague Dogs: An animated adaptation of Richard Adams’ novel, The Plague Dogs follows a pair of dogs who escape from a research laboratory and try to survive in the wild with the help of a cunning fox. Launching on Fandor.
  • The Slumber Party MassacreA horror cult classic about a group of female high school students whose slumber party is stalked by a serial killer. Launching on Screambox and Bloody Disgusting TV.
  • On Golden PondThe Academy Award-winning film featuring Henry Fonda, Katharine Hepburn and Jane Fonda. Launching on Fandor.
  • The Count of Monte Cristo: A young man, falsely imprisoned by his jealous “friend”, escapes and uses a hidden treasure to exact his revenge. Launching on Fandor.
  • Camp Cold Brook: A paranormal team sets to check out an abandoned summer camp where a mass murder occurred decades ago. Launching on Screambox and Bloody Disgusting TV.
  • Raining Stones: The Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize-winning film by celebrated British auteur Ken Loach, about a man devoted to his family and his religion, who is determined to make sure his little girl to have a beautiful (and costly) new dress for her First Communion. Launching on Fandor.
  • The House That Dripped BloodFour tales of terror regarding the events at a creepy old mansion that features Horror icons Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. Launching on Screambox and Bloody Disgusting TV.
  • The Neon BibleBritish auteur Terence Davies’ Palme d’Or Nominee featuring Gena Rowlands in this heartfelt portrait of a boy’s life in rural 1940s Southern Town. Launching on Fandor.

 

Cinedigm titles coming to Shout! Factory TV include:

  • The English Teacher: An English teacher’s life is disrupted when a former student returns to her small town after failing as a playwright in New York.
  • 22 BulletsA retired mobster goes on a revenge spree after being left for dead with 22 bullets in his body by his former childhood friend.
  • Wolfblood: Season 1: Maddy Smith and her family are the only wolfbloods in Stoneybridge, which is a well-kept secret. They lead a peaceful life until Rhydian, a wolfblood, arrives and triggers chaos.
  • Short Term 12: A staff member at a foster care facility works to balance caring for the teens and the struggles of her own childhood. Starring Brie Larson, Rami Malek, Stephanie Beatriz and LaKeith Stanfield.
  • Highlander: Season 1: the cult series from the 90s about the 400-year-old Scotsman Duncan MacLeod, who’s one of the immortals — a group of entities who for centuries have waged a war between good and evil that’s destined to culminate in the Gathering … where only one force can triumph.

 

“In the burgeoning world of AVOD, SVOD and FAST channels, having the right content mix is critical to building a successful digital streaming business,” Gene Pao, EVP of strategy and digital at Shout! Factory, said in a statement. “Our collaborative relationship with Cinedigm allows us to offer the best possible programming to our respective audiences. This unique partnership allows both Shout! Factory and Cinedigm maintain its leadership position in the industry.”

Tubi Bows ’12 Days of Tubi’ Winter Holiday Campaign

With the winter holidays ramping up, Tubi, Fox Entertainment’s ad-supported free streaming service, is treating users to “12 Days of Tubi,” a promotional campaign to win swag, devices and other freebies.

The promotion, which began Dec. 13, gives daily viewers on Tubi’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter handles a chance to win devices from Amazon Fire TV, Google TV and TiVo, as well as swag from Tubi, Fox and Fox Sports. Prizes are given through Friday, Dec. 24.

Tubi swag includes branded Christmas sweaters, socks, Tubi Original “The Freak Brothers” swag, Tubi Original “A Chance for Christmas” kits and gingerbread houses. Fox and Fox Sports prizes include “The Masked Singer” puzzles.

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The promotion is open to legal U.S. residents physically residing in the U.S./DC only. Must be at least 18 years of age. Limit one entry per day.  Odds/ Rules: https://bit.ly/12tubi 

Acquired by Fox for $440 million in 2020, Tubi features more than 35,000 movies and TV shows, including a growing library of original programming; more than 65 local and live news and sports channels, and more than 250 entertainment partners, including content from nearly every major Hollywood studio.

FAST, AVOD Services Getting Better, More-Exclusive Content, OTT.X@Pipeline Panelists Say

Free ad-supported TV (FAST) and ad-supported VOD (AVOD) services are becoming the hot ticket in digital distribution, according to panelists at the 14th Annual OTT.X@Pipeline event in Los Angeles Dec. 8.

“Suddenly, AVOD is becoming part of the broader distribution strategy for major studios and indie studios alike, whereas in the early days, AVOD services had just 10, 15-year-old catalog,” said Pluto TV’s Will Gurman.

Now, content owners are looking at an earlier window for ad-supported release, and the business is looking for exclusives.

“There’s a huge opportunity now with indie producers, and we’ve done this with a number of films, where in a traditional pay one window we might come in and provide some level of AVOD exclusivity, and we market and we promote, treat the film the way that you’d see years ago from SVOD services before they started moving more and more into originals,” Gurman said.

The business is projected to reach $4 billion by 2024, said Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia, and “a lot of the growth in this industry has happened in the last 18 months.”

Pluto TV, owned by ViacomCBS, is a FAST service with more than 300 channels in the United States and is in 26 regions globally. The service also has thousands of titles available via AVOD.

“We’re about 8 years old and Pluto’s really founded with the contrarian principle,” Gurman said. “When everyone was going to SVOD and going to VOD, Pluto went the other way and went back to linear and back to ad-supported and presented a platform of channels in a familiar format and familiar content and were really a pioneer in growing and building out the FAST channel space.”

As ad-supported services have joined the space, differentiation is becoming more important to rise above the competition, he said.

“Differentiation is key for us now,” he said. But rather than focusing on originals, the service is looking for original channels.

“Certain platforms are investing heavily into original content,” he noted. “For us at Pluto, one thing we’ve really focused on and continued to focus on is differentiating on our channels and making sure — while we don’t have original content — the majority of channels can’t be found on other platforms,” he said. “A great example of that recently was a channel that we launched with professional bull riders, a fantastic organization with a fan base of over 80 million in the U.S.”

The company had been a niche SVOD service.

“We quickly learned about their marketing strength, how strong and important their fan base was and what their experience had been as a niche SVOD service, looking at potentially transitioning them to a new business model that could help them reach a broader audience,” he said.

Now, the bull-riding content has its own ad-supported channel exclusively on Pluto.

“It’s called PBR Ridepass, and we’re certainly looking to do more types of opportunities like that,” Gorman said.

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In fact, the ad-supported PBR channel launched on Pluto on the day the SVOD service shut down.

“We worked hand and hand with them on marketing to all their subscribers [about the transition],” Gorman said.

“It’s not just about the PBR channel in isolation,” he added. “We have a strong audience that likes content with a strong overlap. We have channels of outdoor content, we have action movies. ‘Walker Texas Ranger’ is a great overlap in content.”

Meanwhile, PBR helps viewers discover other channels they like on Pluto, he said.

“There’s a huge opportunity for SVOD platforms to offer linear channels in the AVOD space,” Gurman noted, adding Pluto TV has a channel with Britbox.

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Mike Woods, a veteran of digital content service company Amagi, has started Orka TV to help ad buyers find easier ways to utilize AVOD and FAST services. The digital realm is rapidly becoming the new TV, he said.

“It is all available,” he said. “Everything can be done now.”

He noted that a channel that used to cost $500 million to set up, now costs just thousands.

Gurman and Woods noted that the monthly active users (MAU) measure of ad-supported service success is antiquated and can be fudged — for instance by counting imagined co-viewers. Pluto TV focuses on viewing hours or revenue, for instance. Revenue per hours of viewing is a key metric, Woods said.

“If you’re getting revenue per second, you’re doing pretty good,” he said.