Vizio Announces Closing of $257 Million IPO

Vizio, the Irvine, Calif.-based consumer electronics brand, March 29 announced the closing of an initial public offering of 12.25 million Class A shares at purchase price of $21 per share, or $257.2 million. The shares began trading on the New York Stock Exchange March 25 under the symbol “VZIO.”

Vizio over the past year has branched out into ad-supported video, inking multiple distribution deals with content holders for its Internet-connected SmartCast televisions.

The company last year announced the launch of a dozen free kids and family linear TV channels, Movies Anywhere transactional movie purchase platform, and NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service.

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“With increasing consumption on smart TVs, we are happy to make it easy for Peacock customers with Vizio smart televisions to stream all our content,” Maggie McLean Suniewick, president of business development and partnerships for Peacock, said in a statement last summer. “We offer Peacock as free to our distribution partners because we want people everyone to enjoy Peacock where and when they want it.”

Vizio shares are currently trading at $21.82 per share in midday trading.

Consumer Electronics Brand Vizio Launching IPO on New York Stock Exchange

Vizio, the Irvine, Calif.-based consumer electronics giant, is prepping an initial public offering as the company prepares to launch on the New York Stock Exchange. The company March 16 launched the roadshow for the IPO of more than 15.1 million shares of its Class A common stock priced from $21 to $23 per share.

In 2020, Vizio reported net income of $102.5 million on revenue of $2.04 billion, which was up from $1.83 billion in revenue and $23.1 million in profit in the previous year. The company’s SmartCast operating system had more than 12 million registered users accessing ad-supported content, in addition to direct access to third-party apps such as Netflix, Hulu, Peacock, Apple TV+, Disney+ and YouTube TV. That was up from 7.6 million registered users in 2019.

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Regardless, data from Statista suggests Vizio has been losing market share in the U.S. to Samsung, LG and China’s TCL, which manufacturers Roku-branded televisions.

 

Fox Rolling Out ‘Free Like Tubi’ Weeklong AVOD Promotion

Tubi, the AVOD platform Fox Corp. acquired in 2019 for $440 million, is mounting a week-long promotional campaign — dubbed Free Like Tubi — with third-party services and consumer electronics manufacturers, to attract viewer eyeballs.

Beginning Feb. 8, Tubi will sponsor ad-free listening through the week on streaming music provider Pandora. Listeners will have free “Video Plus Access” throughout the week. Tubi will give mobile app players free rewards on mobile game provider Zynga if users watch and engage with sponsored Tubi video content.

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Additional cross promotions include unlocking the paywall on Ad Age and giving readers complimentary access. Beginning Feb. 9, Tubi and Postmates will launch a “National Pizza Day” partnership to celebrate the special day and Free Like Tubi Week in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. On Feb. 10, Tubi will host free Amazon Fire TV 4K with Alexa Voice Remote device giveaways.

On Feb. 11, Tubi will partner with “The Ellen Degeneres Show,” where one audience player takes a popcorn quiz and goes on a search for the correct title in a huge bucket of popcorn. Additionally, 100 winners on Ellen’s IG (@theellenshow) stories will receive Visa gift cards courtesy of Tubi.

On Feb. 13, Tubi will give away one Vizio 55-inch V-series SmartCast TV and one Vizio V-series V21-H8 Soundbar. The next day, Tubi and Spotlight Cinema Networks will celebrate Valentine’s Eve with free concessions for the first 20 moviegoing cars at the Arena Cinemalounge in Hollywood, The Frida Cinema in Los Angeles, as well as the Skyline Drive-In and Plaza Cinema & Media Arts Center in New York City.

Tubi will host free Roku Express device giveaways on Feb. 14. On Feb. 15, to wrap up the campaign, Guillermo from “Jimmy Kimmel Live” will treat the audience to free giveaways. Additional swag giveaways include “The Masked Singer” (@MaskedSingerFox), “The Masked Dancer” (@MaskedDancerFox) and “Name That Tune” (@NameThatTune).

Vizio Unveils Holiday Hub

Vizio has unveiled “Unwrap the Magic of SmartCast,” its holiday hub featuring a collection of special programming for the holiday season.

With more than 200 hours of holiday-themed movies, TV episodes, music and more from app partners, the hub features free and premium holiday streaming options, including 12 days of special offers and discounts on video-on-demand movies throughout December.

Vizio has teamed up with ROW8 and Redbox to present 12 days of SmartCast movie deals with specially priced, video-on-demand holiday titles such as Elf, A Christmas Story, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Arthur Christmas, as well as new releases such as Fatman, The Stand-in and Greenland.

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“We are pleased to offer Vizio SmartCast consumers the ultimate holiday destination with hundreds of hours of holiday movies and programming to celebrate the season,” Katherine Pond, VP of business development for Vizio, said in a statement. “With our abundant holiday content offering free channels, premium apps, and discounted holiday titles, together with our seasonal discounts on our award-winning TVs and sound bars, Vizio continues to deliver a best-in-class entertainment experience for people of all ages.”

The holiday hub can be found on the SmartCast home screen and includes a combination of premium content and free channel options. SmartCast provides audiences with home screen access to subscription apps such as Netflix, Disney+, Apple TV, Hulu, Prime Video and Peacock as well as streaming across 130-plus free channels. SmartCast supports streaming from devices with Apple AirPlay and Chromecast Built-in, and smart home connectivity with Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant and Alexa-enabled devices.

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 Official HDTV and Sound Bar Partner for ‘Marvel’s Avengers’ Game

Vizio announced the launch of a partnership with Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics as the official HDTV and sound bar partner for the Marvel’s Avengers video game.

From the new line of IQ 4K HDR processors to Vizio’s ProGaming Engine, every new Vizio 4K TV is designed to optimize the gaming experience, according to Vizio.

The Vizio 2021 collection has started hitting retail shelves over the past four weeks and will continue to roll out through the fall.

“Today’s gamers want to enhance their playing experience,” Bill Baxter, chief technology officer at Vizio, said in a statement. “When they combine a new Vizio 4K TV and new 5.1 sound bar they increase their ability to win and raise their gaming position. We have created an entirely new lineup of 4K TVs with a dedicated gaming engine and immersive 5.1 sound bars that offer a best-in-class gaming experience. We’re excited to be the official HDTV and Sound Bar partner for the new Marvel’s Avengers game and to give gamers every advantage as they play the highly anticipated game upon its release.”

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“Video games are our passion,” Karl Stewart, head of worldwide strategic partnerships at Square Enix, said in a statement. “Now more than ever they are essential to bringing friends and family together. That’s why we are truly excited to work with Vizio and give gamers the perfect way to experience our game with Vizio as the official HDTV and sound bar for Marvel’s Avengers when it launches on Sept. 4.”

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Vizio delivers Quantum Color, Full Array LED with up to 3,000 nits of peak brightness, according to the company. The company is further enhancing its 4K TVs with next-gen gaming performance. Vizio V-Series 4K TVs include the new V-Gaming Engine, which utilizes Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and Auto Game Mode to optimize performance upon identifying the game signal. Step-up models such as the M-Series, P-Series Quantum, P-Series Quantum X, and all new OLED include a ProGaming Engine, which offers support for variable refresh rate (VRR) and support for 4K at 120fps. Utilizing 64-bit image processing and offering HDMI 2.1 connectivity along with eARC passthrough, utilizing Vizio’s IQ Ultra and IQ Active processors adjust contrast at the level of individual pixels. The 1GHz CPU smooths contours and gradients in real time for more natural-looking graphics while accurately upscaling HD content to 4K resolution, according to Vizio. The Elevate Sound Bar features DTS:X and rotating speakers that blast sound overhead.

“We want Marvel’s Avengers to be a completely immersive gaming experience and VIZIO’s high performance takes everything to an entirely different level,” Crystal Dynamics creative director Shaun Escayg said in a statement. “The all-new Vizio ProGaming Engine in their TVs will make you feel like you’re a superhero.”

Marvel’s Avengers is a third-person action-adventure game combining a single-player campaign with online co-op action. Players must reassemble, rebuild, and customize their heroes’ roster to play an original Avengers single-player campaign, then enter the Avengers Initiative to battle solo or online alongside friends and continue the expanding story around the globe. They can also customize Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and master their unique powers to defend the world from escalating threats for years to come.

Marvel’s Avengers will bow for the PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One, Stadia, and PC on Sept. 4, and will be available on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X when the consoles launch in holiday 2020. The game is currently rated ‘T’ (Teen) by the ESRB.

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.