AVOD Service Documentary+ Available on Vizio SmartCast TVs

The documentary streaming platform Documentary+ is now available on Vizio SmartCast TVs.

Audiences can find curated content from Documentary+’s collection of nonfiction films and series on Vizio WatchFree+, the free streaming service available on Vizio SmartCast TVs. SmartCast audiences can now access Documentary+’s programming via the updated WatchFree+ program guide, with no additional devices, subscriptions, logins or fees.

The Documentary+ channel hosts nonfiction titles spanning across genres from true crime to exposés to music docs. The average Documentary+ user has watched 80 minutes of content since it launched as an AVOD streaming service in January 2021.

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Documentary+ houses a collection of feature documentaries, cult classics and shorts and features award-winning and nominated filmmakers including Spike Jonze, Kathryn Bigelow, Penny Lane, Elaine May, Jessica Beshir, Terrence Malick, Werner Herzog and Sam Pollard. Included in the existing library is the docuseries with Anthony Bourdain and VICE “A Cook’s Tour,” which follows Bourdain on his travels across the world to explore local culinary cuisines from Tokyo to Portugal to the Napa Valley over 35 episodes.

“We are bullish on the idea that FAST is the next step in the evolution of TV as we build Documentary+ to become the leading premium doc channel,” Bryn Mooser, Documentary+ founder, said in a statement. “Launching on Vizio’s SmartCast is bringing the Documentary+ channel to millions more households.”

“With access to feature-length and short documentary films from the Documentary+ channel on WatchFree+, we are able to serve up a premium content and viewing experience at no cost to the SmartCast audience,” Greg Barnard, director of content acquisition for Vizio, said in a statement. “Adding these high quality, non-fiction films to the ever-expanding library of content options means there is something for everyone with SmartCast.”

In addition to Vizio, Documentary+ is available on smart-TV channels including Xumo, LG Channel Plus and LG Channels as well as on-demand streaming apps including Apple TV, Amazon and Roku, mobile devices, and www.docplus.com.

Electric Entertainment Officially Launches OTT Service ElectricNow With Availability on Vizio Smart TVs

Electric Entertainment, a Los Angeles-based production, distribution and post-production company, has announced the hard launch of its OTT app and channel ElectricNow, concurrently with the app’s availability on all Vizio SmartCast televisions.

SmartCast  users have around-the-clock access to Electric Entertainment’s produced content such as TV series “Leverage,” “The Librarians” and “The Outpost,” as well as acquired programming such as the feature films Blood on the Crown, starring Harvey Keitel and Malcolm McDowell, and Heavy, starring Sophie Turner and Daniel Zovatto.

“We soft-launched ElectricNow in spring of 2020,” said Dean Devlin, CEO of Electric Entertainment, in a statement. “The consumer feedback and corresponding viewership has been well beyond our expectations.  We originally set out to create a hub where we could aggregate all of our various fan bases from ‘Leverage,’ ‘The Librarians,’ ‘The Outpost,’ ‘Almost Paradise’ and all of our podcast subscribers into a single space. Now with the app being available to this incredibly large consumer base via Vizio SmartCast, we are reaching a much broader more mainstream audience, picking up new fans along the way.”

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“With the addition of ElectricNow to SmartCast, we are continuing Vizio’s mission to provide our audiences with endless entertainment,” Chris Tanquary, director of business development and partnerships for Vizio, said in a statement. “ElectricNow’s hard launch is a great step in that effort, and gives SmartCast users access to their exciting original and acquired content.”

Electric Entertainment recently announced marathons on ElectricNow for its original programs “Leverage” and “The Outpost,” timed to coincide with the streaming and/or broadcasting of these program’s new episodes and seasons.

Devlin has seen ElectricNow as not only a one-stop-shop destination for fans of Electric’s programming, but also as a marketing tool to lead viewers to their streaming and broadcast partners, according to a company press release.

“Our fans and broadcast/streaming partners have been equally important to us,” he said in a statement. “Bringing them together has been a major initiative for us.”

BET+ Streaming App is Coming to Vizio SmartCast

Vizio Aug. 3 announced that viewers of its SmartCast streaming video platform will soon have on-demand access to ViacomCBS’s BET+ streaming service. BET+ offers movies, TV shows, comedy and stage plays from black creators.

Content includes: “First Wives Club,” “Tyler Perry’s Ruthless,” “The Family Business” and “American Gangster: Trap Queens” from creators Tracy Oliver, Tyler Perry and Carl Weber, in addition to catalog series “Martin,” “House of Payne” and “Being Mary Jane.”

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“This addition to our line-up of premium apps aligns perfectly with our dedication to deliver content for every audience that can be enjoyed instantly on the big screen,” Katherine Pond, VP of business development, said in a statement.

SmartCast users can find BET+ in the app row on the home screen starting Aug. 4. Users can access the streaming service for a free, seven-day trial before purchasing a premium, commercial-free subscription for $9.99 per month.

BET+ joining a list of SmartCast streaming services that includes Apple TV+, Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, Peacock and Amazon Prime Video. SmartCast also includes support for Apple AirPlay 2 and Chromecast built-in, allowing viewers to stream, control, and share content from their phone, tablet, or laptop directly onto the big screen.

Vizio Updates Free TV Streaming Service

Vizio Aug. 2 updated its free streaming video service, WatchFree+, with a new program guide and an expanded content offerings based on user data.

“WatchFree+ provides audiences with access to the channels and programming you expect with cable, but in a free streaming environment that makes it easy to personalize and customize the entertainment experience,” Katherine Pond, VP of business development, said in a statement.

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To support what it characterizes as a “growing consumer shift” to streaming, Vizio’s WatchFree+ offers 24/7 access to live and local programming, premium content and an ever-expanding library of hundreds of free channels across movies, news, sports, lifestyle, music, kids, family and multicultural content.

The platform includes new navigation features that allow for advanced search and discovery of the latest and best free entertainment. Streamlined search also enables users to access movies, shows and more in fewer steps, serving up content that’s curated around each viewer’s interests.

The program guide supports voice navigation for new SmartCast TVs that come with the latest remote control. Additionally, audiences can use voice navigation through the free SmartCast app for iOS and Android devices.

The latest update leverages Vizio’s “Inscape” viewing data to inform programming preferences with context and is key in the redesign of Vizio’s full-screen program guide and curated channels.

Using first-party viewership data, the program guide now includes custom curated channels, a new “Featured” category with seasonal programming, themed collections, and pop-up channels, including:

  • Fork & Flight: A unique mix of today’s most popular culinary and travel TV shows alongside top digital creators and trendsetters. Fork & Flight will take you to the kitchen, the farm and France — all in one day.
  • Investigation: Unlocks the door to real crime and the unknown, giving viewers a behind-the-scenes look at investigations, as well as in-depth explorations.

Vizio Smart TVs Add ‘Midnight Pulp’ Horror, Thriller, Action Movies App

Vizio SmartCast Televisions have added the Midnight Pulp app, offering a mix of all things strange across the horror, thriller and action genres. Now SmartCast users have round-the-clock access to an expertly curated selection of cult and genre titles that include movies such as Ringu, Detective Chinatown and The Changeling.

Chris Tanquary, director of business development at Vizio

Irvine, Calif.-based Vizio aims to use Midnight Pulp to build audience engagement via ad-supported video-on-demand and SVOD apps on Smart TVs, mobile and connected TV devices; on the web; and/or as linear, free ad supported television (FAST) channels.

It is one of seven OTT channels owned and operated by DMR that have become destinations for their respective genres and is now available as a streaming app on Vizio.

“Midnight Pulp has added new genre-bending content, while evolving over the last two years engaging audiences with its niche content stew of the horror, thriller and action entertainment, Matthew Kiernan, Midnight Pulp channel manager for DMR, said in a statement.

“With the addition of Midnight Pulp, Vizio continues to expand its entertainment options for the modern consumer, giving viewers on-demand, instant access to the content they love,” said Chris Tanquary, director of business development at Vizio.

Vizio Surpasses 11 Million TVs That Allow Dynamic Ad Insertion

Vizio June 9 announced it has surpassed 11.2 million addressable TVs across the United States that enable dynamic ad insertion.

The number represents a significant milestone for members of Project OAR, the addressable advertising consortium founded by Vizio and other TV media companies. By expanding the addressable footprint, programmers are able to deliver and manage ad inventory inside of linear programming broadcast to homes across America.

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“This milestone pushes the consortium beyond a ‘project’ and into an addressable business,” Adam Gaynor, VP of network partnerships and head of addressable for Vizio and OAR, said in a statement.

Gaynor said that with the infrastructure in place and more campaigns going live in the market, the Irvine, Calif.-based Vizio is making it possible to deploy, manage and sell dynamic ads for local and national inventory.

The Project OAR consortium, which is composed of television networks, operators and Vizio, has worked to create open standards that anyone in the ecosystem can use to increase the relevancy of advertising and improve linear viewing for consumers.

AMC Networks, Fox and WarnerMedia are among several of the companies that have executed national addressable campaigns using the OAR standard to deliver more relevant advertising experiences within linear and on-demand formats on smart TVs. With addressable campaigns, companies can reach audiences regardless of where, when or how they choose to view television.

“We started our first addressable campaign in late 2020 and have continued to air addressable campaigns across our national inventory and complemented by set-top box VOD and CTV, allowing for true convergence,” Kristine Bayles, VP of advanced advertising for AMC, said in a statement. “With over 30% of our linear viewership being addressable, we are unlocking new opportunities for brands to connect directly with the intended consumer with precision.”

Darren Sherriff, VP of advanced advertising products at Fox, said that as the scale of addressable continues to grow, working with established market standards will drive adoption and execution on a broader level.

“We’re working to make advertising more accessible and effective for our marketing partners by delivering ad innovations with precision and purpose,” Sherriff said.

Project Open Addressable Ready is a technology consortium created to deliver better advertising experiences to viewers through the use of dynamic advertising on Internet-connected TVs and devices.

Formed in 2018, OAR members include AMC Networks, NBCUniversal, Discovery, Disney, EW Scripps, Fox, Hearst Television, Univision, ViacomCBS, Vizio and WarnerMedia.

The consortium provides technical specifications and best-practice provisions for the selling, targeting and measurement of addressable TV advertising within privacy-compliant, consumer-forward TV environments and is open to content providers, linear inventory owners and OEMs.

Vizio Adds 10 Free AVOD Channels on SmartCast TVs

Vizio May 4 added 10 lifestyle streaming channels to SmartCast, its connected smart-TV operating system. The free ad-supported VOD channels include PeopleTV, QVC, HSN, Jack Hanna, Love Nature, Real Wild, Fuse Sweat, Absolute History, Revry and Horse & Country.

To support a growing consumer shift to streaming — and mine incremental revenue opportunities from AVOD — Vizio has aggressively expanded its free ad-supported services and subscription streaming apps. Total viewing time on SmartCast increased 156% in 2020, reaching 11.6 billion hours of viewing time.

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“With the launch of these additional lifestyle channels and apps, SmartCast viewers will be able to access even more content that aligns with their interests, their experiences, and their lives,” Katherine Pond, VP of business development for Vizio, said in a statement. “From entertainment news to nature and from travel to shopping and more, we’re committed to continually expanding our offering with diverse programming and content.”

The new channels can be found under the “Vizio Free Channels” section from the SmartCast Home screen and complement Irvine, Calif.-based Vizio’s WatchFree streaming service.

Channels include:

  • PeopleTV — Combining the access of People magazine and Entertainment Weekly, this channel features the red carpet, royal news, celebrity weddings, among other reality TV news.
  • QVC and HSN offer trademark livestream shopping, with curated, ever-changing collections of familiar brands and new products, from home and fashion to beauty, electronics, and jewelry.
  • The Jack Hanna Channel features the adventures of the famous zookeeper. From his days in the 1970s transforming Columbus, Ohio’s city zoo into a worldwide destination that in 2019 attracted more than 2 million visitors, Hanna has built a wildlife franchise encompassing TV shows, such as “Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild,” “Jack Hanna’s Wild Countdown” and “Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures,” which has been viewed in more than 60 countries.
  • Love Nature is a wildlife and nature brand that brings audiences stories about the natural world that foster a deeper understanding of and connection to the planet Earth. A library of original series and documentaries are produced by natural history filmmakers around the globe. Programming highlights include “Wildlife Icons,” “Secrets of Wild Australia,” “Arabian Inferno,” “Shark Squad,” “Wild Wild East,” “Land of Gremlins,” and more.
  • Real Wild is a wildlife and nature channel from Little Dot Studios. From rainforests to sparse deserts, from majestic birds to predatory sharks, Real Wild explores the wonders and dangers of nature.
  • Fuse Sweat is home to catalog workout shows from nostalgic names like Richard Simmons and Jane Fonda, to fit-pros like Billy Blanks and Denise Austin.
  • Absolute History is the home of fascinating and sometimes shocking stories from throughout history and the people that make history. The channel offers an immersive view of what life was like in the past and sheds new light on world history from the ancient civilizations to medieval Europe to the First and Second World Wars.
  • Revry is the global streaming media network for the inclusive 21st century queer community. The channel offers viewers a curated selection of authentic LGBTQ films, series, originals and music.
  • Horse & Country features equestrian sports, training and educational shows, entertainment, and documentaries. The programming lineup includes highlights from this year’s Carolina International 4, Master Classes with American Show Jumpers, Georgina Bloomberg and Laura Kraut, and documentary Victory Tour: America’s Top 4.

 

 

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).