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.

OTT.X Adds Six Members

OTT.X (formerly the Entertainment Merchants Association) has added six members: Breaking Glass Pictures, Here Media, MVD Entertainment Group, MyBundle.tv, Vizio and Xumo.

Founded in 2009 by industry veterans Rich Wolff and Richard Ross, along with Susan Helfrich, Breaking Glass Pictures is a film distribution and media company that focuses on releasing independent films, inclusive of all genres, from around the world. In addition to theatrical, DVD, digital, and VOD releases in North America, Breaking Glass functions as an international sales agent. With an average release slate of 45 to 50 titles a year, and a catalog of more than 400 titles, Breaking Glass also represents other studio’s catalogs for platform placement as aggregators.

Here Media operates media brands serving the LGBT market across the print, television, digital, social media, tablet, events and mobile.

MVD offers a catalog of audio and visual digital rights and has direct relationships with the major digital and VOD platforms.

MyBundle.TV guides consumers through the cord-cutting process by recommending customized bundles of streaming services based on a user’s set of circumstances. At the same time, MyBundle.TV provides OTT services a platform to reach their potential consumers.

Vizio is an American-based TV brand and sound bar company formed in 2002 offering among its products smart TVs.

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Xumo, an ad-supported streaming service, offers more than 190 digital channels of programming across 12 genres in 45 million U.S. households via a multi-screen distribution network of smart TVs, mobile, web and streaming boxes.

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).

Insight TV Expands Distribution via Vizio TVs

Insight TV, a 4K UHD streaming video channel featuring action sports and adventure lifestyle content, has joined Vizio TV’s SmartCast operating system and is embedded in more than 13 million TV sets in the U.S.

Vizio, along with Samsung’s Tizen and LG’s WebOS, is attempting to offer third-party content via proprietary streaming platform to consumers rather than license Roku or Android TV software. In addition, SmartCast enables users to peruse third-party streaming content from one platform instead of jumping between apps.

Launched in 2015 and based in the Netherlands, Insight TV is distributed in 28 countries via more than 100 million households.

Vizio SmartCast is also featuring Insight TV’s suite of digital channels, including action-focused channel “inTrouble,” and science/technology/knowledge channel “inWonder.”

“With Vizio seeing a huge increase in viewing sessions for its streaming TV services in the past few weeks, it is particularly fortuitous timing that [our channels] have been added to the platform,” Mark Romano, VP of the Americas at Insight TV, said in a statement.

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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Vizio Adds Disney+ to SmartCast Smart TV Platform

Vizio has launched Disney+ on its SmartCast smart TV platform.

While Vizio users have been able to stream Disney+ on SmartCast through Apple AirPlay 2 and Chromecast built-in, the update allows viewers to launch the app and search for Disney+ content directly from the SmartCast home screen.

Disney+, which offers movies and TV shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, in addition to exclusive Disney+ originals, costs $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year.

The Disney+ app is available on the SmartCast platform in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Users in these locations can find and subscribe through the apps row on SmartCast Home or through the SmartCast Mobile app.

“At Vizio, we are always working to provide the best home entertainment experience for our users,” said Vizio chief technology officer Bill Baxter in a statement. “We are excited to bring Disney+ onto the SmartCast platform to give viewers access to even more content to enjoy.”

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SmartCast allows users search for content using their voice via compatibility with Siri, the Google Assistant and Alexa-enabled devices. It also includes Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit, along with Chromecast built-in, so users can stream, control and share shows, movies and content.

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SmartCast also includes WatchFree, a free-to-use streaming service, with no login or subscriptions required. New to WatchFree is the ability to designate specific channels as “Favorites” and navigate by genre. WatchFree, powered by Pluto, offers access to more than 150 channels with news, sports, movies, TV shows, and music that the whole family can enjoy.

New SmartCast apps are available on Vizio SmartCast TVs dating back to 2016.