Warner Bros. Discovery Explores Adding a New FAST Service

Warner Bros. Discovery reported Thursday that the number of direct-to-consumer subscribers to HBO, HBO Max and Discovery+ was up 1.7 million since the close of Q1, for a total of 92.1 million subs. As part of its effort to reach a broader streaming audience, the company plans to launch a combined subscription version of HBO Max and Discovery+ in summer of 2023. CEO David Zaslav revealed that the company is also exploring a free ad-supported TV service. “We see potential,” Zaslav said of launching a discrete FAST service, one that may offer different content from what is currently available on the premium VOD platforms. Continue reading Warner Bros. Discovery Explores Adding a New FAST Service

Streaming Ads That Play While TVs Are Off a Costly Problem

Some streaming platforms are continuing to stream TV commercials even after viewers turn off their sets, costing brands an estimated $1 billion per year in wasted fees, according to new research. The news comes as streaming gains in popularity and premium services like HBO Max, Disney+ and Netflix dabble in ad-supported streaming tiers. A study by iSpot.tv and GroupM indicates roughly 17 percent of television ads playing through connected streaming devices are playing on a dark TV set, which is possible because when regular TVs are turned off that action isn’t always conveyed through HDMI ports. Continue reading Streaming Ads That Play While TVs Are Off a Costly Problem

Peacock and Paramount+ Generate Bulk of Q1 SVOD Growth

Those who thought Netflix’s losses in Q1 meant consumers were falling out of love with premium SVOD subscriptions overall are wrong, according to research firm Antenna, which has issued a new report indicating the streaming category continues to grow, up 4 percent in Q1 compared to Q4 2021, with a 24.7 percent jump compared to the same period the prior year. The growth the first quarter of 2022 “was largely driven by Peacock and Paramount+,” according to Antenna, which says the “two services combined to add over 6.1 million U.S. subscribers,” 80 percent of category growth. Continue reading Peacock and Paramount+ Generate Bulk of Q1 SVOD Growth

Amazon Rebrands Its IMDb TV Streaming Service as Freevee

Amazon Studios’ free streaming service IMDb TV has been rebranded Freevee as part of a global expansion. The ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) platform has in the past two years tripled its monthly active users, with growth driven by “rapid distribution across living room devices and mobile, an increasing slate of originals, frequently updated library of licensed content and more than 60 channels,” according to Amazon. Following a successful launch in the UK last September, Freevee will launch in Germany this year and plans to expand original programming by 70 percent in 2022. Continue reading Amazon Rebrands Its IMDb TV Streaming Service as Freevee

YouTube Joins the Free, Ad-Supported Streaming TV Market

YouTube recently announced that it plans to offer full seasons of ad-supported streaming TV series free of charge, a first for the Google video platform. The move will put YouTube in competition with a growing number of free streaming services such as IMDb TV, Peacock, Plex, Pluto TV, The Roku Channel, Tubi and Xumo. U.S. consumers can expect more than 4,000 free episodes to start, with up to 100 additional film and television titles to be added each week. The popular video site already offers more than 1,500 free, ad-supported movies, so the television content is expected to serve as a vital expansion of its streaming options. Continue reading YouTube Joins the Free, Ad-Supported Streaming TV Market

Amazon Expands Offerings via Ad-Based Streamer IMDb TV

Amazon is reportedly about to rebrand IMDb TV as a full-on ad-supported streaming television vertical. Launched in 1990 as a film and television credits directory, the Internet Movie Database launched IMDb TV in 2019 offering free access to catalog film and TV shows. Last year, it premiered its first original series, the teen spy show “Alex Rider.” Next week, IMDb TV will debut another original series, “Judy Justice,” featuring Judge Judy Sheindlin in a follow-up to her popular syndicated courtroom reality show, “Judge Judy,” which ended in March. And there are more new shows and content deals in the works. Continue reading Amazon Expands Offerings via Ad-Based Streamer IMDb TV

FOX’s Tubi Plans to Expand Sports Programming in the U.S.

FOX is introducing a sports content hub on its free streaming service Tubi. “Sports on Tubi” will add 10 live-streaming sports channels to its existing offerings, including FOX Sports, FOX Deportes, NFL, MLB, beIN Sports Xtra and beIN Sports Xtra en Español, Fubo Sports Network, Pac-12 Insider, Stadium and USA Today SportsWire, as well as channels for the ACC and Real Madrid later this year. The channels, which will only be available in the United States, will debut first on Amazon Fire TV and Roku and Android devices. Continue reading FOX’s Tubi Plans to Expand Sports Programming in the U.S.

Vizio Upgrades Content, Navigation, Discovery for WatchFree

Vizio refreshed its WatchFree+ streaming service (that now sports a plus sign) with a new look, customized recommendations and new navigation features to improve search and discovery. Also on tap is a programming guide with hundreds of free channels across multiple genres and a “featured” category for seasonal content, themed collections, pop-up channels for limited time programming and Vizio-exclusive custom-curated channels including Fork and Flight for food and travel and Investigation for true-crime shows. Continue reading Vizio Upgrades Content, Navigation, Discovery for WatchFree

Samsung TV Plus Is Now Streaming Online After Soft Launch

Samsung debuted its TV Plus streaming service on the Internet, with the ability to cast videos to devices that support Google’s Chromecast to its mobile app. Previously, TV Plus was only available on Samsung’s smart TVs and smartphones. The web-based TV Plus apparently had a soft launch in May but had not yet been publicly announced by the company. With this expansion, TV Plus has become a rival to other free streaming services such as Pluto TV and Tubi. U.S. consumers will have access to about 140 streaming channels. Continue reading Samsung TV Plus Is Now Streaming Online After Soft Launch

Amazon OTT Businesses Reach 120+ Million Monthly Viewers

Amazon’s over-the-top businesses (including IMDb TV, Twitch, live sports and Amazon’s News app among others) have grown to 120+ million monthly viewers. The free, ad-supported IMDb TV, which is getting a mobile app, has seen its viewership rise 138 percent year-over-year, making it a rival to similar ad-supported streamers including Fox’s Tubi, ViacomCBS’s Pluto TV and Roku’s The Roku Channel. Amazon’s exclusive rights to NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” will begin a year earlier than originally planned, with the 2022-2023 season. Continue reading Amazon OTT Businesses Reach 120+ Million Monthly Viewers

TV Maker Vizio Goes Public on the New York Stock Exchange

Irvine, California-based smart TV maker Vizio had its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange last week, offering 12.25 million shares priced at $21, valuing the company at about $3.9 billion. Vizio chairman and chief executive William Wang, who founded the company in 2002, is focused on the SmartCast streaming platform. Among smart TVs in North America, Vizio is second only to Samsung. Vizio’s platform business grew four-fold from 2018 to 2020, to $147.2 million, with total revenue topping $2 billion in 2020. Continue reading TV Maker Vizio Goes Public on the New York Stock Exchange

New NFL Deal Is Part of Amazon’s Plans to Increase Content

Amazon inked a deal to make its Prime Video service home to the National Football League’s “Thursday Night Football” by 2023. Amazon paid an “average annual fee” of about $1 billion, making it the company’s biggest such deal to date. Currently, Amazon ranks third in digital advertising, after Google and Facebook, but the exclusive NFL games will likely supercharge viewing and advertising. Recently, Amazon also signed deals to put its free ad-supported IMDb TV into more homes and ordered a spin-off of popular show “Bosch.” Continue reading New NFL Deal Is Part of Amazon’s Plans to Increase Content

Viewers Turn to Xumo and Other Ad-Supported VOD Services

Despite the focus on successful subscription streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+, free ad-supported TV services have actually been growing at a faster clip. AVOD (ad-supported video on demand) or FAST (free ad-supported TV) is flourishing largely via large media companies. Fox’s Tubi, ViacomCBS’ Pluto TV and Xumo, now owned by Comcast, are all performing well. Xumo has skyrocketed 2.5 times, reaching 24 million U.S. monthly active users. Comcast acquired Xumo in February 2020 from Panasonic and Meredith Corp. Continue reading Viewers Turn to Xumo and Other Ad-Supported VOD Services

NBCU’s Fandango Purchases Streaming Video Service Vudu

Following the soft launch of its Peacock streaming service to Comcast Xfinity X1 and Flex customers, NBCUniversal is bringing another streamer into the fold, this time to expand its Fandango offerings. Movie ticket seller Fandango has acquired digital movie and TV streaming platform Vudu from retail giant Walmart, with plans to merge it with digital marketplace FandangoNOW. According to Walmart, Vudu is available on more than 100 million devices, while its mobile app has more than 14 million downloads.  Continue reading NBCU’s Fandango Purchases Streaming Video Service Vudu

FaceBank Group and fuboTV Announce a Merger Agreement

Florida- and New York-based FaceBank Group, Inc. — developer of hyper-realistic digital humans for use in artificial intelligence, entertainment, productivity and social media — is merging with OTT live TV streaming service fuboTV, which currently touts “more top Nielsen-ranked sports, news and entertainment channels for cord cutters than any other live platform.” The combined digital entertainment company, to be led by fuboTV CEO and co-founder David Gandler, will be named fuboTV, Inc. with plans to offer a premium viewing experience across a global distribution network. Continue reading FaceBank Group and fuboTV Announce a Merger Agreement