Vizio SmartCast Adds Facebook Watch TV App

Vizio SmartCast users in the United States and Canada can now access the Facebook Watch TV app.

“Bringing Facebook Watch to SmartCast furthers our mission to provide Vizio customers with direct-to-device access to all of their favorite apps and channels in one place,” Mike O’Donnell, chief revenue officer of Vizio, said in a statement. “The Facebook Watch TV app helps connect audiences with content that matches their interests, all from the Vizio SmartCast home screen.”

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Vizio SmartCast TV users can select the Facebook Watch app icon from the SmartCast home screen and follow a prompt for a one-time Facebook login. Content on the app includes:

  • Facebook Originals such as “Red Table Talk,” covering social issues with Jada Pinkett Smith; the recently launched “Red Table Talk: The Estefans,” with Gloria Estefan; the daytime Emmy-winning show “Returning the Favor,” with Mike Rowe who spotlights everyday heroes; and Steve Harvey’s talk show, “Steve on Watch,” with celebrity interviews and news;
  • Live gaming streams and previously recorded videos from Facebook Gaming creators as well as livestreamed tournaments; and
  • Music videos from top artists to up-and-coming bands and classics across various genres.

Apple TV App on Vizio Smartcast TVs in U.S. and Canada

Vizio customers in the United States and Canada now have access to the Apple TV app on SmartCast TVs.

For a limited time, eligible Vizio SmartCast customers in the United States can sign up for Apple TV+ and receive three months free.

“With the Apple TV app coming to Vizio SmartCast TVs, customers can enjoy an even broader range of exciting entertainment, including the popular and award-winning Apple TV+ service,” Mike O’Donnell, chief revenue officer of Vizio, said in a statement. “Knowing the important role the TV has in the home, Vizio continues to expand the entertainment available for consumers to discover.”

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Vizio SmartCast TV users can select the Apple TV app icon from the SmartCast Home screen and sign in with their Apple ID to subscribe to Apple TV+.

Customers can also subscribe to Apple TV channels, such as Showtime, CBS All Access and Starz, and watch online and offline, ad-free and on demand, directly on the Apple TV app. Through Family Sharing, up to six family members can share subscriptions to Apple TV channels using their personal Apple ID and password.

Additionally, Vizio SmartCast TV users can browse the Apple TV app to buy or rent more than 100,000 movies and TV shows, including titles available in 4K HDR and with Dolby Atmos, as well as access their library of movie and TV show purchases from Apple.

Vizio customers can also enjoy Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit capabilities on SmartCast TVs. With AirPlay 2, Vizio customers can stream, control, and share their favorite content directly from their iPhone, iPad, or Mac to their Vizio SmartCast TV. HomeKit allows customers to easily and securely control their SmartCast TV using the Home app or by asking Siri on their Apple devices.

Vizio Appoints Former AMC Networks, Dish Exec VP of Network Partnerships

Consumer electronics company Vizio has appointed former AMC Networks and Dish executive Adam Gaynor VP of network partnerships.

In this role, Gaynor will help build direct relationships with networks across Vizio’s SmartCast platform and its advertiser-direct business unit Vizio Ads.

“Adam’s addition to the team represents Vizio’s continued focus and investment in driving the future of TV,” Mike O’Donnell, chief revenue officer at Vizio, said in a statement. “Not only does Adam have extensive experience working with networks, but he has been at the forefront of championing addressable advertising, going back to his previous efforts driving live linear addressable advertising at AMC Networks and Dish.”

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In addition to spearheading network relationships, Gaynor will be heavily involved in advancing Project Open Addressable Ready (Project OAR), a technology consortium led by Vizio and created to advance the development and deployment of a new, open standard for addressable advertising on connected TVs. The consortium recently announced live market trials with network partners such as Fox, ViacomCBS, NBCUniversal, E.W. Scripps and AMC Networks.

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“Vizio is building the next generation of home entertainment, powered by data and personalized consumer experiences,” Gaynor said in a statement. “I’m excited to join the team to advance VIZIO’s initiatives on the network and addressable front, enabling advertisers to deliver more precise messages to their intended audiences at the right time.”

Before joining Vizio, Gaynor was most recently VP of AMCN Agility, the data solutions sales team for AMC Networks. There, he created and oversaw the development and monetization of all advanced and data-driven TV advertising opportunities across the AMC Networks portfolio. He also served as VP, media sales and analytics for Dish Network, where he led the company’s media sales division, inclusive of all addressable, interactive, programmatic and OTT initiatives. Gaynor also held posts at Game Show Network, Comcast and CBS.

Vizio SmartCast Adds a Dozen Free Kids and Family Channels

Vizio announced the launch of a dozen free kids and family linear TV channels for SmartCast users.

SmartCast users can find 24/7 content options from:

  • Ameba, a children’s video streaming service with kids TV shows, family movies and kids music videos designed to spark children’s curiosity and empower them to explore;
  • Brat TV, which features teen stars such as Dixie D’Amelio and Annie LeBlanc in live-action original series;
  • Giggle Mug, with collections of videos that kids and the entire family can enjoy featuring TV shows such as “Tara Duncan,” “Robot Trains,”’ YooHoo & Friends,” “Besty’s Kindergarten Adventures,” “Miniforce” and more;
  • HappyKids Junior, a destination dedicated to educating and entertaining preschoolers with shows such as “Cat in the Hat,” “Thomas & Friends,” “Care Bears,” “Super Simple Songs,” “Blippi” and “Mofy”;
  • HappyKids.tv, with programming that educates and entertains kids 6-plus with popular and safe shows, music and movies including “Sonic,” “Hot Wheels,” “Barbie,” “Bakugan,” “Winx Club” and more;
  • Kid Gamer TV, in which popular gamers create experiences in the universes of Minecraft and Roblox;
  • Kidoodle.TV, a Safe Streaming platform with content hand-picked by parents, including shows such as “PAW Patrol,” “LEGO City,” “Abdallah Smash,” “Talking Tom,” “True and the Rainbow Kingdom,” “Little Baby Bum,” “Pocoyo,” “Oddbods” and more;
  • The Official LEGO Channel, a channel dedicated to inspiring and developing the builders of tomorrow where kids can watch their favorite Minifigure characters;
  • SQAD, with eSports, sports and gaming content targeting teens, tweens and video game lovers of all ages;
  • Tankee Gaming, a safe channel where kids and families can enjoy gaming content featuring Minecraft, Roblox, Nintendo hits and more by their favorite gamers;
  • Toon Goggles, with kids shows such as “Angry Birds,” “Talking Tom,” “Om Nom,” “Gummy Bears,” “Sonic,” “Yu-Gi-Oh!” and more; and
  • WowNow Kids, the home of original animated adventures, educational series, and sing-alongs with Dove-approved movies and TV for families and children of all ages.

Upcoming free updates to SmartCast will add personalized viewing recommendations based on frequently used streaming channels, and family-friendly content reviews from Common Sense Media, according to the company.

“Today Vizio is making thousands of hours of free children’s programming available to our SmartCast users, as people increasingly make streaming part of their daily routines,” said Katherine Pond, VP of business development for Vizio, in a statement. “With the uncertainty of the upcoming school year, parents will be looking for alternate ways to entertain and educate their children from inside the home. Vizio is pleased to make these programs available to ensure high quality content for children and peace of mind for parents.”

Vizio has seen a spike in engagement for kids and family content as families continue to stay home, according to the company. Apps with content for kids and family have historically seen around 35% more engagement than the average app on SmartCast.

The new channels can be found under the “Free Channels” section from the SmartCast Home screen and will complement Vizio’s WatchFree  service. In total, SmartCast viewers have access to more than 200 free linear TV channels of news, TV shows, movies and sports.

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“We’re excited to officially launch our Giggle Mug kids channel on Vizio SmartCast. The growing platform has a wonderful lineup of kids channels available, and we’re proud to be included,” said Jesse Janson, EVP of acquisitions and business development for Janson Media, in a statement.

“We are excited for the HappyKids launch as part of Vizio SmartCast’s kid programming, which is so timely. We will be bringing our expansive library of premium shows, movies and educational content to millions of Vizio SmartCast families all delivered in a kids-safe environment,” said Vikrant Mathur, co-founder of Future Today, in a statement.

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“Kidoodle.TV’s inclusion on Vizio SmartCast is a great way to support millions of families with our Safe Streaming service and we couldn’t be happier to work with a world-class platform,” said Neil Gruniniger, president and chief product officer, in a statement.

“We are honored to have the Tankee Gaming channel available to Vizio SmartCast, giving millions of kids a wealth of safe and entertaining gaming content while providing parents with peace of mind,” saidGerald Youngblood, Tankee CEO, in a statement.

“We are incredibly excited for the launch of the WowNow Kids channel on Vizio Smartcast. Children and their parents can now enjoy the hundreds of movies and television shows from our extensive library of animated content for free. Vizio is delivering an unbelievable value to Smartcast users.” Ryan Swenar, director of sales and business development for Wow Now Entertainment, in a statement.

Vizio Smart TV Platform Adds Movies Anywhere App

Vizio has added the Movies Anywhere app to SmartCast, its Smart TV platform.

“Adding Movies Anywhere to Vizio SmartCast TVs is another way we’re providing more entertainment choices and greater convenience to our users,” Mike O’Donnell, Vizio SVP of platform business, said in a statement. “Just as SmartCast Home gives the user a central portal to online content options, Movies Anywhere brings the user’s movie library together in one place. It’s a perfect match that makes it even easier for our users to bring the theater experience home by streaming their favorite content in up to 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos.”

Movies Anywhere is a cloud-based library service that offers consumers access to their digitally purchased movies from participating digital retailers and studios. Studios include Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Pictures (including DreamWorks and Illumination Entertainment), The Walt Disney Studios (including Disney, Pixar, Twentieth Century Studios, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm), and Warner Bros. Entertainment. Participating digital retailers include Apple TV, Prime Video, Vudu, Xfinity, Google Play/YouTube, Microsoft Movies & TV, FandangoNow and Verizon Fios TV.

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In addition to Movies Anywhere, Vizio SmartCast provides access to on-screen apps such as Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Prime Video, YouTube TV and more, along with more than 70 free streaming channels. New SmartCast apps and features, including Movies Anywhere, are automatically updated when the TV connects to the Internet and are available on Vizio SmartCast TVs dating back to 2016.

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Movies Anywhere recently announced a new feature, currently in beta, called Screen Pass, which allows users to share their movies with family and friends.

Endomol Shine Launches Ad-Supported Content on Vizio TVs

Endemol Shine Group has launched ad-supported catalog programming on Vizio smart TVs.

The Dutch production and distribution company is responsible for U.S. reality and scripted TV shows “Big Brother,” “Deal or No Deal,” “The Money Drop,” “Fear Factor,” “The Voice,” “MasterChef,” “Your Face Sounds Familiar,” “Peaky Blinders,” Netflix’s “Black Mirror,” Humans,” “Grantchester” and “Tin Star,” among others.

The distribution deal includes more than 600 episodes of “Deal or No Deal,” “Wipeout,” “DIY Daily “and “Reel Truth Crime,” among others.

The new channels complement Irvine, Calif.-based Vizio’s WatchFree service, which features more than 200+ free streaming TV channels of news, movies and sports. Vizio SmartCast users can stream hundreds of free channels without log-ins, payment, or subscription.

“With one of the largest smart TV footprints in the U.S., and with a surge in streaming content overall, Vizio SmartCast provides an ideal platform to reach millions of consumers with entertainment they crave, and demonstrates our continued commitment to contributing to the future of TV,” Kasia Jablonska, head of digital distribution and monetization, Endemol Shine Group, said in a statement.

Vizio has the second largest domestic footprint for SmartTVs, 21% of markshare for TV’s sold in the U.S. going back seven years, more than 35 million TVs are in U.S. homes today.

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Vizio claims 125,000 consumers are signing up for SmartCast (UX/discovery platform) weekly since 2018 — a tally that doubled in March at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

The TV/soundbar manufacturer is now offering more than 200+ 24-hour streaming channels — with 50 new 24-hour TV channels added since March. The manufacturer said TV viewership has doubled since stay-at-home advisories; attention to free ad-supported TV channels/apps are up 108% (April 26 vs. March 9).

Vizio Appoints Former Nielsen Exec to Board

TV maker Vizio has appointed John R. Burbank as an independent member of its board of directors.

Burbank “brings years of experience in media, analytics, marketing and telecommunications that will help guide the company, and advise its management team to best leverage its TV and audio hardware as well as its SmartCast platform,” according to a Vizio press release.

“We’re excited to be able to invite John to Vizio’s board of directors,” Vizio’s chairman of the board, founder and CEO William Wang said in a statement. “John is an accomplished business leader and experienced board member in consumer marketing and advertising sectors. His extensive knowledge and expertise will add great value to our board, and Vizio will benefit from John’s insights and counsel.”

As president of strategy and corporate development for the Nielsen Co., Burbank led the research firm’s digital transformation, developing new data products with partners such as Facebook, Alibaba and Tencent. Prior to joining Nielsen, Burbank held senior leadership positions in consumer marketing at AOL, AT&T and the Procter & Gamble Co. Today, John advises startups in both in the United States and Israel and serves as an independent director of Entergy Corp. and a board member of Connecticut Public Radio and Television. He holds a B.A. in Russian History and an MBA, both from the University of Chicago.

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“I look forward to sharing my industry experience with Vizio’s board and top management,” Burbank said in a statement. “With a rapidly changing market dynamic and increased consumer demand, Vizio is well positioned to deliver significantly enhanced entertainment and lifestyle experiences through a smarter integration of technologies.”

Vizio SmartCast Expands Free Channels

Vizio is expanding its free channel options across the SmartCast Platform with more than 20 new lifestyle, do-it-yourself, fashion, travel and comedy channels.

New channels include Vanity Fair, WIRED, GQ, Glamour, Tastemade and Condé Nast Traveler, Funny or Die, Game Show Central and World Poker Tour.

The company has added 54 new free channels since March.

Usage of Vizio SmartCast TV’s free ad supported apps and streaming TV services were up 88% the last week of April compared to the first week of March before stay-at-home advisories changed viewing behaviors, according to Vizio. Attention to free ad-supported TV channels and apps were up 108% in April 2020 versus the first week of March.

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Vizio also noted one in five TVs sold today are Vizio; Vizio has the second-largest U.S. footprint for SmartTVs; and people are signing up for SmartCast (UX/discovery platform) at a rate of 125,000 a week since 2018.

Vizio Launches 30 New Free Linear Channels on SmartCast Home Screen

Vizio April 7 launched 30 new free linear TV channels on its SmartCast Home screen.

Channels include news and lifestyle content from USA Today and CBC News; sports information and action from USA Today Sportswire and the Fubo Sports Network; and celebrity and entertainment news from TMZ and Hollywire. Do-it-yourself channels include Hungry, Food52 and The Design Network.  Sci-Fi content is on Dust, documentaries on Magellan TVNow and Docurama, and cult classics on CONtv.

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The free streaming channels can be found under a “Free Channels” row on the SmartCast Home screen.

“The new wave of programming comes at a time when TV usage is surging,” according to a Vizio release. “Vizio SmartCast TV’s free ad supported apps and streaming TV services saw a 59% increase in viewing sessions over the last three weeks of March.”

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“More people are discovering our free content offerings and making them part of their daily routines right now,” said Mike O’Donnell, SVP of platform business. “We recognize the important role that TV plays in the home, especially when families are being asked to stay inside. It’s important for us to deliver popular content to consumers, and we are focused on continually expanding additional free and premium options for our Vizio SmartCast TV customers.”

Vizio Survey Finds Double-Digit Viewership Percentage Jump in Video App Use

Percentage viewership of VOD apps jumped double digits in a Vizio survey comparing two weekends in March, as more consumers began to stay home due to the coronavirus crisis.

Viewership of ad-supported VOD apps jumped 19% while overall viewership of TV apps grew 9% from the weekend of March 7-8 to the weekend of March 14-15, according to a survey of 9.6 million Vizio SmartCast users.

Meanwhile, research firm Inscape found both streaming viewers (OTT) and linear viewers watched 10% more content overall in its survey of 14 million opt-in TVs comparing the same time periods.

In a week-over-week survey comparing March 2-7 to March 8-15, the firm saw an 8.6% jump in sessions, or engagement (such as opening an app).

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