Q&A: Samsung TV Plus Exec Aileen Del Cid Discusses Free Service’s Advantages

Aileen Del Cid is head of marketing and public relations at Samsung TV Plus, Samsung Electronic’s free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) and video-on-demand (AVOD) service, which offers over 2,500 channels globally across 24 countries, Del Cid oversees all marketing operations, strategy, branding, public relations, and strategic partnerships where she brings over a decade of experience in the entertainment marketing industry. Throughout her career, Aileen has led a wide range of branding efforts, product launches, integrated campaigns, and strategic partnerships for multiple organizations. 

Aileen Del Cid

Prior to joining Samsung TV Plus, Del Cid held roles as CTV advertising lead marketer for DirecTV NOW, and digital advertising lead marketer for the DirecTV mobile app. In these roles, Del Cid oversaw marketing strategies that grew the subscriber bases, expanded relationships with entertainment and emerging platform partners, and drove customer adoption and retention. 

Before that, she worked in distribution marketing at GSN, where she led the sales team through the development and execution of strategic marketing efforts to drive subscriber acquisition. Aileen joined GSN from Universal Sports Network, where she managed and developed strategic B2B and consumer-facing marketing campaigns and governed a multimillion-dollar marketing budget. Aileen has served as a board member of Women in Cable and Telecommunication.

MPN: What is the origin and history of Samsung TV Plus? 

STVP has evolved from providing linear only free ad-supported service to now delivering thousands of shows, movies, and playlists on demand

MPN: Can you quantify its viewership?

Samsung TV Plus is the No. 1 video streaming app overall on Samsung Smart TVs and the No. 1 FAST app on Samsung Smart TVs based on app opens and HOV. Samsung TV Plus experienced an over 60% increase in YoY global viewership and a nearly 60% increase in the U.S.

MPN: Where is Samsung TV Plus available and are there any plans to expand its availability?

We are currently available across 24 countries, and we are always looking to make our free ad-support entertainment service available to more people.

MPN: How has the service grown over the years and why has it grown?

Is it the attraction of free content? The quality of our user experience and content offering have evolved with our service. We offer such a wide variety of content that fits nicely with our viewers demands, and we are constantly adding more free shows, more free channels, more free movies, and more free experiences that any viewer can enjoy.

MPN: Please describe the content lineup on Samsung TV Plus (i.e. number and kind of channels) and any upcoming content highlights (new channels, originals).

We carry over 350+ channels and thousands of shows and movies on-demand. We also offering deeper experiences via our Music and Kids destinations that offer viewers dedicated homes to deep-dive into the specific content.

MPN: What’s the attraction of single IP channels and what content do you look for in new channel additions?

Single IP channels allow viewers the luxury to sit back and binge. It gives them the ability to deep dive into a specific show, whether they are rewatching it for comfort or discovering a new series.

MPN: How important is the home page on smart TVs as a gatekeeper to content?

Our STVP homepage is our users gateway to discover all that we have to offer. This is where we highlight new content, recommendations, and entry points into other destinations like our GUIDE, On-demand, Kids, and Movies destinations.

MPN: How does Samsung TV Plus organize content to make it easier to find?

Our best tool is our user interface. It is how we can enable content discovery and make it easy for users to get to the content they want to watch faster.  

MPN: Does the service cater content recommendations to individual viewers and if so how?

Our main goal is and always will be delivering the right content to the right viewer at the right time leveraging insights on what’s trending on our service, and highlighting new content or relevant content that we think the viewer will enjoy (we leverage viewership data and ACR data to target/curate campaigns).

MPN: What are the future challenges for Samsung TV Plus and services like it?

Service differentiation and that ability to continue to appeal to consumer needs and wants

MPN: What differentiates Samsung TV Plus from competitors or similar services like Vizio’s Watchfree+ and others?

We will remain focused on what we do best, which is delivering free premium, quality entertainment experiences to our users.

Crunchyroll Now Available on Samsung Smart TVs

Anime application Crunchyroll is now available on Samsung Smart TVs in the United States, with users in other markets to gain access by the end of the week, according to the service.

The app is available on all 2017-2023 Samsung Smart TVs.

With the launch, Samsung Smart TV users can access Crunchyroll’s library of anime content, including more than 46,000 episodes and movies, 3,300 Japanese music videos and concert specials, and the latest shows available on Crunchyroll on-demand, all with the option of subtitles or dubs across more than 12 local languages including English, Spanish (Latin America and Spain/Castilian), Portuguese, French, German, Arabic, Italian, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil.

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“Anime is one of the fastest-growing entertainment mediums worldwide,” Kaliel Roberts, chief product officer at Crunchyroll, said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to enhance access to Crunchyroll for Samsung’s Smart TV users. Samsung is providing a seamless experience for both dedicated anime fans and the anime-curious, allowing them to easily sign up and access their favorite anime directly on their TV screens.”

Crunchyroll boasts the world’s largest selection of anime titles, according to the service, including “My Hero Academia,” “Jujutsu Kaisen,” “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba,” “Chainsaw Man” and “Attack on Titan,” as well as classics such as “Cowboy Bebop” and “One Piece.”

Crunchyroll is available in more than 200 countries and territories, offering a dedicated anime library and new simulcast series shortly after they premiere in Japan.

CES 2024 Highlights AI TV Advancements

LAS VEGAS — CES 2024 ended its four-day run here on Jan. 12 with a total count of 135,000 attendees and more than 4,300 exhibitors, up 17% and 34%, respectively, from the 2023 show.

The exhibitor count is close to the pre-pandemic high of 4,400 at CES 2020, while attendance is still significantly short of the more than 170,000 who attended the show four years ago. But Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, which produces the annual show, is quite pleased with the numbers.

“The resurgence of CES proves that face-to-face conversations and meetings are a necessity for the technology industry,” Shapiro said. “For more than 20 years, I’ve said that every company must become a tech company, and the diversity of exhibitors at CES 2024 proves it. The CES footprint and conference programming span the entire tech ecosystem.”

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Shapiro noted that the show’s footprint of more than 2.5 million net square feet of exhibit space was 15% bigger than CES 2023, while more than 40% of the attendees came from outside the United States, representing 150 countries, regions and territories.

The big buzz at the show was artificial intelligence, which was embraced by legacy consumer electronics exhibitors such as Hisense, LG, Samsung, TCL, Sony, and Panasonic to make their smart TVs even smarter.

Hisense, the Chinese CE giant that in the first half of 2023 became the world’s second-biggest television manufacturer, got a jump on its competitors with a press conference the day before the show opened highlighting its new line of ULED and ULED X TVs. The star attraction: the 110UX, which in addition to its 110-inch screen size is five times brighter than the average high-end set and incorporates AI technology to dynamically adjust contrast and depth depending on the scene. The company’s Hi-View Engine PRO chipset — featured exclusively in the U7 and U8 series — leverages deep learning and innovative technologies to create lifelike skin tones, refine HDR detail, and significantly improve image detail.”

Not to be outdone, LG Electronics unveiled its new line of QNED TVs, powered by the α8 AI Processor. AI Picture Pro offers picture quality based on deep learning, according to the company. The feature distinguishes faces, objects, and backgrounds within a scene, enriching the texture and fine details. Dynamic Tone Mapping Pro splits the picture into blocks and analyzes each in real-time to detect the darkest and brightest areas, elevating the details with precise HDR optimization to deliver three-dimensional image quality, according to LG. With Personalized Picture Wizard, users can customize the image quality by simply selecting a few preferred images from a given selection that are intelligently set up through deep learning.

Samsung Electronics in a press conference unveiled its “AI for All” vision, which holds that AI technology will enable people to experience their devices more intuitively and conveniently than ever before. The new Samsung Neo QLED 8Ks feature a built-in AI processor that can automatically upscale low-resolution content to 8K quality. The AI Motion Enhancer Pro automatically detects the type of sport being watched and uses deep learning to help viewers visually track fast-moving objects likes baseballs and footballs with crystal clarity. Samsung Neo QLED 8Ks also feature Active Voice Amplifier Pro, which uses AI to analyze voice and background noise and optimize the TV listening experience.

On the content side, Netflix returned to the CES show floor for the first time in six years with a glitzy mirrored booth where guests were being given an immersive preview of the sci-fi drama series “3 Body Problem,” which starts streaming on March 21. Guests donned a shiny silver gaming headset — modeled after the one in the series — and were taken on a wild cinematic ride rich with special effects, as well as a preview of the new full-length trailer.

“3 Body Problem” is an ambitious epic from “Game of Thrones” creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss, along with Alexander Woo, that was adapted from Chinese author Liu Cixin’s Hugo Award-winning book trilogy. The eight-episode series is set in a fictional past, present and future in which Earth encounters an alien civilization from a nearby system of three stars that orbit one another, a nod to the three-body problem in orbital mechanics.

Circana: Samsung, Hisense Top 2024 Consumer Electronics Industry Performance Awards

Heading into the annual CES trade show this week in Las Vegas, research group Circana  announced its 2024 Consumer Electronics (CE) Industry Performance Awards — led by South Korean consumer electronics manufacturer Samsung, which topped the largest market share increases for in-store and ecommerce TV sales.

China’s Hisense topped total North American TV market share.

The 8th annual awards program acknowledges brand leaders in the consumer technology industry based on top increases in market share in North America, fastest turning brand per item in the United States, Canada and Mexico, and top ecommerce market share gain through October 2023.

“Aligned with the spirit of CES, our annual awards program recognizes those who have excelled in navigating the dynamic landscape of technology, shaping the future through their innovative contributions,” Ian Hamilton, president, technology, home, and office supplies, at Circana, said in a statement.

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Samsung TV Plus Adds New Free Kids TV Streaming Channels

Samsung TV Plus has added new free kids TV streaming channels, including such series as “Barney and Friends,” “Baby Einstein,” “Teletubbies,” “Caillou,” “The Adventures of Super Mario Bros 3” and “Sonic the Hedgehog.”

The additions bring the total number of free, 24-7 kids channels to 20.

Samsung TV Plus is also now curating all children’s content within a dedicated kids experience called “Best of Kids.” 

The complete kids channel lineup includes:

  • “Strawberry Shortcake”
  • “Polly Pocket”
  • “Teletubbies”
  • “Blippi”
  • “Nick Pluto TV”
  • “PBS Kids”
  • “Bob the Builder”
  • “Barney and Friends”
  • “The Adventures of Super Mario Bros 3”
  • “Moonbug”
  • “Caillou”
  • “Lego Channel”
  • “pocket.watch”
  • “Sonic the Hedgehog”
  • “Kidoodle.TV”
  • “Baby Einstein”
  • “Ryan and Friends”
  • “ToonGoggle”

Lionsgate+ Expands European SVOD Access Through Samsung Smart-TV Deal

Six years after the Starz premium channel became available on Samsung smart-televisions in Europe, Starz Jan. 31 is making the newly rebranded Lionsgate+ (formerly Starzplay) streaming platform available on Samsung’s Tizen-powered OS platform TVs in select European countries.

Lionsgate acquired Starz in 2016 for $4.4 billion.

Samsung TV owners will be able to subscribe to Lionsgate+ directly on their screens, unlocking access to programs including “Gaslit,” “Power,” “The Great,” “Outlander,” “The Serpent Queen,” “Party Down” and Spanish-language “Senorita 89,” among others.

“We are continuing to build on Lionsgate+’s presence across Latin America, the U.K. and Ireland and offer consumers a range of touch points in market,” Darren Nielson, EVP of international networks for Starz, said in a statement. “Samsung’s global reach and premium devices make them an ideal partner for us as we grow in these regions.”

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CES 2023 Ends With Higher-Than-Expected Attendance of 115,000

LAS VEGAS — CES 2023 ended Jan. 8 with a total attendee count of more than 115,000, exceeding even the most optimistic projections of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which produces the annual technology show.

In the weeks leading up to the show, which ran from Jan. 5-8 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the CTA had expressed hope that attendance would reach 100,000, more than twice the 45,000 who turned out for last year’s show, which was scaled back by a day amid a rash of exhibitor pullouts due to a winter COVID-19 surge.

This year’s CES also had more than 3,200 exhibitors, about 1,000 more than last year.

“CES 2023 was the great reconnection and rocked by every measure — from attendance to the keynote stage to press conferences and product debuts on the exhibit floor — showing the entire world that in-person events are back!” a jubilant Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the CTA, said in a statement. “The innovation unveiled [at the show] will drive economic growth and change in meaningful ways to improve our lives and create a better future for the next generation.”

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Shapiro notes that the show’s footprint was 70% bigger than CES 2022, with nearly 2.2 million net square feet of exhibit space.

Of the estimated 115,000 attendees, more than 40,000 came from outside the United States, representing more than 140 different countries.

This year also marked the first time that CES had a theme: Human Security for All. CES partnered with the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security and the World Academy of Art and Science on the Human Security for All (HS4A) global campaign to foster food security, access to health care, personal income, environmental protection, personal safety, community security and political freedom.

Also for the first time, CES 2023 had a dedicated Metaverse area on the show floor, highlighting cutting-edge sensory technology building immersive, interactive digital worlds. A Web3 Studio, produced by CoinDesk, was the focal point of the Web3, Metaverse and Blockchain area at CES.

And while automotive and mobility, digital health and sustainability were all dominant show trends, the show’s legacy consumer electronics roared back in a big way, with LG Electronics bringing back its signature video monitor “wave” and, along with other big CE manufacturers such as Sony, Samsung, TCL, Hisense and Panasonic, displaying impressive lineups of new televisions, many of them aimed at video gamers.

Even turntables were back, led by Japan’s Audio-Technica Corp., whose turntables played a key role in the vinyl resurgence that began several years ago. Even Panasonic displayed a new Technics turntable and CD player.

One of the top attractions on the CES 2023 show floor was a replica of the cabin from the new Universal Pictures M. Night Shyamalan movie Knock at the Cabin (debuting theatrically Feb. 3), which Canon USA, a digital imaging solutions provider, used as the setting for an immersive movie experience in which visitors could try out various new technologies aimed at dissolving the limits between real and virtual worlds.

Samsung to Offer 8K Streaming Access to Prime Video’s Pending ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’ Series

Samsung has entered into a collaboration with Prime Video that offers viewers the opportunity to stream exclusive 8K content from the upcoming (Sept. 2) Amazon Studios’ original series, “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” on select Samsung TV screens.

On Aug. 25, Samsung hosted a sneak peek screening event featuring 25 minutes of content from the series’ first two episodes on its three-story LED video wall at Samsung 837 — its flagship experience center. Starting this week, dynamic creative from the series will debut on Samsung’s LED digital screens overlooking New York City’s Times Square, London’s Piccadilly Circus and Milan’s Piazza del Duomo.

Samsung will be the first to offer series content in 8K resolution through a custom sneak peek with exclusive scenes. Viewers will have the opportunity to experience the series in extended depth and detail on Samsung Neo QLED 8K TVs and “The Wall” 8K Micro LED displays.

“When considering how to immerse our global fans in the world of ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,’ Samsung’s exceptional technology and screens felt like a natural fit,” Andrew Bennett, VP of Global Device Partnerships at Prime Video, said in a statement.

Samsung’s Neo QLED 8K series TV’s claim to deliver the most immersive home entertainment experience. The TVs feature a Neural Quantum Processor 8K, Dolby Atmos and Object Tracking Sound — a proprietary Samsung technology.

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Samsung Video Game Hub Now Available on 2022 Smart TVs

Samsung Electronics July 1 announced that its branded Samsung Gaming Hub is now rolling out to all 2022 Samsung smart TVs. Announced during CES 2022 in Las Vegas, the Samsung Gaming Hub is an all-in-one game streaming platform where players can discover and play games from partners, including Xbox, NVIDIA GeForce Now, Google Stadia, Utomik, and, coming soon, Amazon Luna.

The platform aims to bring more convenient access to all things gaming within Samsung TVs, including the 2022 Neo QLED 8K, Neo QLED 4K, QLEDs and 2022 Smart Monitor Series.

The move underscores the ongoing shift from packaged media to digital gaming driven by subscription-based services.

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“With expanding partnerships across leading game streaming services and expert curated recommendations, players will be able to easily browse and discover games from the widest selection available, regardless of platform,” Won-Jin Lee, president and head of the service business team at Samsung Electronics, said in a statement.

Powered by its Tizen operating system, Samsung Gaming Hub allows players to access online games, in addition to their gaming consoles and PC, all in one place. Players can use their favorite accessories, such as Bluetooth headsets and controllers with the Samsung Gaming Hub without the need to purchase new hardware. Additionally, users will be able to access curated recommendations based on the latest and most popular games.

The Samsung Gaming Hub also integrates music and streaming services such as Twitch, YouTube and Spotify. Players can get the latest gaming news, watch tutorials, play music and podcasts and view video game trailers.

‘Antiques Roadshow’ U.K. Channel Available on Samsung TV Plus in U.S.

A BBC “Antiques Roadshow” U.K. channel is now available in the United States on Samsung TV Plus, Samsung’s free, ad-supported streaming service, available on Samsung Smart TVs.

The series, in its 44th season, follows host Fiona Bruce and her team of antiquarian experts as they tour the United Kingdom’s most sumptuous and unusual locations to uncover artifacts, search for hidden treasures, and reveal the remarkable stories of unique and incredible items.

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The “Antiques Roadshow” U.K. channel, preloaded and accessible from the home screen, joins more than 200 premium channels already available on Samsung TV Plus across the United States on millions of Samsung Smart TVs and galaxy devices and on the Web.