Cinedigm to Buy Future Today Ad-Supported Video Network in $60 Million Deal

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Digital entertainment company Cinedigm on Friday announced plans to acquire Future Today Inc., a video platform company and AVOD channel network, for $45 million in cash and $15 million in Cinedigm common stock.
Future Today brings with it a network of…

How Xumo Became an Acquisition Target: Active Users Jump 60 Percent With Push Into Free Movies

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Xumo, one of the biggest ad-supported streaming platforms, is ramping up at time when rivals like Pluto TV have become acquisition targets.
The eight-year-old company now reaches 5.5 million active users each month, a 60 percent increase from eight mon…

Tubi And NBCUniversal Ink Streaming Pact Covering 400 Vintage TV And Film Titles

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Tubi and NBCUniversal have set a deal that will see a trove of nearly 400 vintage TV episodes and films land on the ad-supported Tubi streaming service.
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Tubi Reports 180 Percent Growth in Revenue in 2018 as Viewership Quadruples

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Tubi, the popular ad-supported streaming services, announced on Wednesday a 180 percent jump in ad revenue last year and a 400 percent increase in the amount of content watched on the platform.

The privately held company declined to release revenue figures or precise viewership numbers.

“In 2018 we at Tubi saw tremendous growth as consumers, fatigued by SVOD subscriptions and services, sought alternative entertainment choices,” CEO Farhad Massoudi said in a press release.

Massoudi credited Tubi’s growing content library, which increased from 9,000 to 12,000 titles in 2018, and its recommendation engine, for the platform’s growth. Following the engine’s launch in December 2017, the company said watch time on the platform increased by 20 percent.

Also Read: Does Every Content Company Need to Launch a Streaming Service? Maybe Not

“We will continue to use profits to make bigger bets on content, enhance viewing experience, and continue to press ahead into new grounds in what is our core advantage: technology and data,” Massoudi added.

Part of that bet is on exclusive content. In 2019, Massoudi plans to increase the number of exclusive titles available on the platform, which currently stands at 11.

In addition to an increase in content, Tubi announced a new partnership with Horizon Media, a company that works in data and marketing insights.

Under the agreement, Horizon will be able to provide their clients with access to Tubi’s OTT ad inventory.  The company also secured an agreement with Rogers Media, a Canadian media company, to be the exclusive sales representative for its advertising in the Canadian market.

Also Read: 5 Questions: Tubi CEO Farhad Massoudi on Netflix’s Fate and the Rise of Ad-Supported Video in 2019

The news of Tubi’s growth comes as a time when more consumers are turning to ad-supported video products in favor of increasing their monthly streaming costs.

The growing demand for free content has caught the attention of several companies including Roku, Amazon, and Walmart — all of which have invested heavily in AVOD over the past several years. Roku and Amazon both launched their own AVOD services, while Walmart’s streaming service Vudu partnered with MGM to produce original content for the OTT platform.

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Amazon’s IMDb Launches Ad-Supported Streaming Service Freedive

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Amazon has made its push into the ad-supported video space with Freedive, a streaming service from subsidiary IMDb that launched Thursday.

The platform, which is available without a subscription, kicked off with a library of Hollywood content including the TV shows “Fringe,” “Heroes,” “The Bachelor” and “Without a Trace” as well as movies such as “Awakenings,” “Foxcatcher,” “Memento” and “The Last Samurai.”

IMDb’s original video series, including “The IMDb Show,” “Casting Calls” and “No Small Parts,” are also available on the service.

Capitalizing on IMDb’s plethora of movie data, Freedive comes with an “X-Ray” feature, which provides information on the cast, crew, trivia and soundtracks of the content being watched.

Also Read: Amazon’s Ad-Supported Streaming Service Could Be Its Ticket to Winning India

While some analysts expected the service to be available only through Amazon Fire streaming devices, the e-commerce giant has made it available on laptops and desktops via the IMDB website. As of now, Freedive is only available in the United States.

“Customers already rely on IMDb to discover movies and TV shows and decide what to watch,” Col Needham, Founder and CEO of IMDb said in a press release. “With the launch of IMDb Freedive, they can now also watch full-length movies and TV shows on IMDb and all Amazon Fire TV devices for free. We will continue to enhance IMDb Freedive based on customer feedback and will soon make it available more widely, including on IMDb’s leading mobile apps.”

The news comes at a time when 73 percent of adults who typically watch streaming OTT video say they watch ad-supported OTT video, according to a 2018 IAB study.

Freedive joins a growing list of ad-supported video on-demand services, including The Roku Channel, Tubi, PopcornFlix, Vudu, FilmRise and YouTube.

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Discovery Inks Distribution Pact With Pluto TV

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Discovery has inked a deal with Pluto TV that will see content from the media company be distributed on the ad-supported streaming TV and VOD service.
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Tubi Takes Library of 8,500 Movie and TV Titles to Comcast’s Xfinity X1 Platform

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Tubi is increasing its discoverability in a new partnership with Comcast that will see the ad-supported service become integrated on the cable provider’s Xfinity X1 TV Box. Roll out will begin Thursday and will be available to all Comcast X1 user…

Yahoo Launches 24/7 Live Channel on Roku Just in Time for Midterm Elections

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Oath’s Yahoo has launched a 24/7 live channel on Roku’s ad-supported streaming channel, The Roku Channel.
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5 Questions With Farhad Massoudi, Founder and CEO of Tubi

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Farhad Massoudi is the founder and CEO of Tubi, which launched in 2014 with the goal of offering premium television and movies for free. Since the platform’s launch, Massoudi has worked to bridge the gap between Silicon Valley and Hollywood by building Tubi as a technology-first over-the-top (OTT) streaming service, using its proprietary content personalization engine to reach a mass audience with individualized and tailored content.

Under Massoudi’s leadership, the streamer has built relationships with Hollywood studios, networks and production companies, allowing Tubi to compile one of the largest libraries of film and TV content across all genres. The company currently has partnerships with Lionsgate, MGM and Paramount, among others.

Today, Tubi is one of the only free streaming services using proprietary technology to personalize the viewing experience. Currently the ad-supported streaming platform boasts more monthly titles than Netflix and is consistently ranked as the top rated free streaming app on platforms including iOS and Android.

This week we caught up with Massoudi to discuss the future of the streaming industry, Tubi’s past partnership with Hulu, and the problem with ad-supported video services focusing too much on original content.

Also Read: Tubi TV Is Bringing Traditional Television Economics to Streaming

How important will ad-supported video on-demand (AVOD) be in the future of OTT video?

AVOD is the unequivocal future for content creators, providers and brands. With the saturation of subscription streaming services, AVOD will increasingly be used as a complementary service to consumers’ favorite SVODs in order to access more of their favorite content, without paying more.

Other major players have recently entered the market, which only further validates how disruptive ad-supported video on demand is. The industry continues to experience rapid adoption of ad-supported video by customers, either as a standalone service, or as a complement to existing subscription-based streaming services. In fact, 87 percent* of consumers originally cut the cord due to price, and now OTT services are starting to add up as streaming services continue to raise monthly subscription prices.

*Source: Research Intelligencer and Pollfish survey of 400 U.S. adults. Conducted June 19, 2018.

Earlier this year, Tubi inked a content deal with Hulu that saw several of the streamer’s shows — like “The Mindy Project” — become available for free on Tubi. How does this partnership benefit Hulu, which typically houses its content behind a paywall?

Our mission at Tubi is to provide more access to more content. We want to democratize entertainment, and make premium content more accessible, more tailored and more affordable for our viewers. A partnership with Hulu was an obvious choice for us, as their standout shows are well-loved by our audiences. For our content partners, our goal at Tubi is to provide them more outlets and opportunities to showcase their amazing shows and movies to a broader, engaged audience. That has been the case with Hulu.

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Tubi launched its content personalization engine almost one year ago. How has it impacted consumer behavior and business of the overall platform?

We’ve seen some incredible results since the launch of the content personalization engine.  One of the biggest and most consistent challenges with streaming is content discovery. How many times have you sat down to watch something after dinner, only to find that you’ve spent thirty minutes flipping through your streaming service of choice without making a decision?

Our goal is to share the right content for each viewers, in the shortest amount of time — with our Content Personalization Engine, we’ve been successfully leveraging data and machine learning to provide the fastest path to getting you the content you want to watch, and it only gets smarter and more accurate as our viewers spend more time on the platform. Overall, our viewers are coming back more frequently, are significantly more active when they return, and watch movies and TV shows for longer.

In August, Tubi made the decision to launch its own (free) version of Amazon Channels. Why is aggregation of OTT channels important and how does it benefit Tubi?

With so many amazing shows and movies available to stream nowadays, it can be incredibly difficult to decide on what to watch – dedicated channels make that process easier for viewers. TubiChannels allow viewers to easily find and watch their favorite movies and TV shows from brands they love. Working in tandem with Tubi’s ML-powered Content Personalization Engine, TubiChannels aid in personalized content discovery based on channel preference, and help viewers find new, relevant brands. Tubi viewers who love a certain brand’s content can then explore all of its titles and TV shows on each channel’s dedicated landing page.

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On the content partner side, we’re in an age when many streaming services are downplaying brand awareness for content owners — we’re doing the opposite. With Tubi Channels, we’re giving content brands more exposure on the Tubi platform, while providing audiences with the fastest path to the content they want to watch. Finding the right audiences in the increasingly fragmented OTT space is incredibly hard, so Tubi Channels makes that process significantly easier for our content partners. Our partners are able to scale content distribution to reach new audiences and monetize IP. Our partner relationships our absolutely critical for the success and growth of the company, so anything that helps our content partners benefits Tubi and its viewers.

What do you think of other AVOD services — like Crackle and Vudu — pushing into the production of original content?

As streaming services shift their focus to original content, their content libraries tend to shrink — take Netflix for example. Its library has shrunk dramatically as it’s moved into creating originals. However, they can clearly afford to take that risk as the largest streaming service provider on the market.  Original content takes a large investment and should be reserved for the massive players who can compete at the highest costs. In my opinion, original content for free VOD players is a huge mistake and destined to fail. At Tubi, we’ve always been in the business of providing the largest library of free movies and TV shows to viewers, so our company is taking a different approach entirely, and we have no plans to produce our own content.

Also Read: Tubi TV Is Bringing Traditional Television Economics to Streaming

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Cinedigm Announces Pricing and Titles of New Chinese-Centric OTT Service (Exclusive)

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Here’s a Fall 2018 Playbook for TV Marketers

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

By Matt Young, VP and Industry Lead, Entertainment, Oath

When’s the last time you felt caught up on the season’s hit TV shows? Last summer? Ten years ago? In an era of competing and diverse content providers, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with the vast choices available. In fact, last year, the number of TV shows released in the U.S. hit a new high, up to 487 compared to 455 in 2016.

This swell in TV programming combined with the massive growth of over-the-top (OTT) and trend of cord-cutting– which, according to eMarketer, will jump 32 Percent this year–begs the question: what does this mean for TV marketers and how can they keep up?

They adapt. Innovations in Advanced TV and mobile advertising have opened doors for advertisers to go beyond the large-scale TV ad buys and focus more on targeted advertising that makes an impact. As our watch lists continue to grow and more and more consumers cut the cord, we need a new playbook for TV marketers looking to cut through the entertainment clutter and capture consumer attention. Here are four ways to navigate the new landscape of TV.

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Lean into Advanced TV

In today’s fragmented landscape, where viewers turn to alternative methods for traditional TV content, advertisers are finding it increasingly difficult to reach audiences in one place. There are too many ways to reach consumers and at too many times throughout the day. Advanced TV ditches the one-size-fits-all approach of getting in front of broad audiences to help marketers connect with consumers at the right place and the right time through addressability and interactive ads.

Recent innovations in addressable TV are putting advertisers in the driver’s seat with more sophisticated models for targeting. Leveraging first-and-third-party data, marketers now have the ability to show different ads to different households during the same TV program, and it works! A study from Forrester reported a 19 percent increase in overall brand efficiency, 39 percent increase in overall brand awareness and 67 percent ad recall in addressable TV ads versus traditional TV ads.

For a more engaging experience, consider leveraging interactive TV ads, such as overlays with clickable video, or ACR-powered ads on connected TVs that drive engaged viewers to a website or send promotions to viewers’ smartphones. Interactive ads offer a cross-device experience that connects the dots between TV and mobile.

Another benefit to advanced TV? The medium allows marketers to close the loop on reporting. Advanced TV allows precise measurement after a campaign airs, so that brands can measure their ROI with precision.

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Don’t Ignore OTT

Speaking of the changing living-room and viewer consumption habits, OTT advertising shouldn’t be forgotten. Advertising on these platforms, like Xbox, offers marketers a unique opportunity to connect with engaged viewers. And, results are not only measured by the number of viewers reached, but also on how audiences are engaging with the ad.

What can marketers do? Take advantage of the personalization available with OTT advertising and connect with viewers in a compelling and customized way. Whether it’s transactional video on demand (TVOD), subscription video on demand (SVOD) or ad-supported video on demand (AVOD), consumers continue to spend time with OTT video services. According to a recent Oath study on video consumption, 51 percent of video viewers use an OTT video streaming service to watch TV shows or movies. Earlier this summer PwC released its Global Entertainment and Media Outlook for 2018-2022, which forecasts that OTT will show an average of 10 percent growth for the next five years.

Diversify your video advertising spend

The need to diversify video advertising spend has never been more apparent. According to Forrester’s recent Video Advertising Forecast, TV Everywhere is expected to grow from 89 million users in 2018 to 111 million in 2023, and virtual multichannel video programming distributor users will grow from 24.2 million this year to 44.3 million in 2023.

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Close to a quarter of video viewers now use an app to watch TV shows or movies from a cable, satellite, telco TV service or TV network with higher levels among Millennials (33 percent) and Gen Z (31 percent) according to the same video consumption study from Oath. What’s more, when it comes to watching free, ad-supported content, consumers are in — particularly GenZers, who are more open to learning about new products that are relevant.

This presents a massive opportunity for marketers to put their money where consumer eyeballs are. The key is ensuring your strategy integrates both TV and digital video so you have a consistent message across every touchpoint.

Invest in mobile video to capitalize on OTT and all-access apps

U.S. consumers spend an average of five hours a day on mobile, and it shows no signs of slowing down. From social media to news, consumers are turning to their phones to stay connected — and that also means making their phones a second screen for TV shows and video content. With the rise of OTT and all-access apps, the opportunity for mobile video advertising continues to grow. But to effectively engage consumers via mobile video, creating a personalized experience that works seamlessly is critical.

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Pre-roll video and native video ads are some of the most effective video formats on mobile because they provide an uninterrupted video viewing experience. And research shows that native video ads between 15-22 seconds in length on mobile are significantly more engaging than desktop ads. This is great news for advertisers; 15-22 seconds gives marketers more opportunity to engage consumers in a personalized and meaningful way. Finally, if you’re looking to reach specific audience segments, consider going programmatic. Combining the data and targeting of programmatic advertising with the creativity of native video ensures you’re reaching viewers on smartphones with meaningful content that is tailored to their interests.

As we move further away from primetime and closer to TV everywhere, the video advertising landscape is ripe for innovation. Marketers need a new playbook that incorporates these strategies to ensure they’re making the most out of their TV and video ad spend.

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About the author:

Young has been growing new, scalable and profitable businesses in the technology and media space for the last 15 years. Currently, as the VP, industry lead for Entertainment, Media and Gaming at Oath, he oversees industry advertising revenue for all of Oath’s content and ad tech products. Prior to Oath, Young led the programmatic initiatives for the field sales team at Yahoo! (acquired by Verizon for $4.48B in 2017) and held various leadership positions in mobile and programmatic at BrightRoll (acquired by Yahoo! for $640M in 2014). Early in his career he worked on the content and production side of media, starting as a journalist in South America, and then running his own entertainment company in Los Angeles.
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Connect, Control and Amplify Video by Going Direct-to-Consumer (Sponsored Post)

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Today, consumers are more inclined to purchase or subscribe to video directly from the source, rather paying for inflexible bundled cable services. This direct-to-consumer shift, and increasing number of video streaming services across all devices, have created new opportunities for businesses that want to do more with their video and leverage winning monetization strategies.

The Direct-to-Consumer Trend

Industry trends and forecasts all point toward migrating to OTT, while traditional bundled television services are starting to unravel as networks adapt subscription-based streaming services. In fact, this is not just a “nice-to-have” anymore. A report by The Diffusion Group says that ALL major networks will provide direct-to-consumer video services by 2022.

However, the opportunity to benefit from growing direct-to-consumer options isn’t limited to the major networks. Media-rich companies that represent a wide range of industries, such as fitness, faith, sports, and education, are shifting towards video-centric business models. For many, video has become either the primary or secondary revenue-generating service.

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Any video-centric organization that is looking to grow its audience and revenue has the opportunity to get on board with the direct-to-consumer trend. Not to mention, building standalone streaming services allows for the team to have direct control over viewers and distribution. For many media companies, this raises the question: What is the best monetization model for my direct-to-consumer business?

Monetization Strategies

To generate the most revenue, video businesses need to carefully choose a monetization strategy that works best. There are three proven approaches, but whether the approach is successful boils down to the content and audience. Video operations teams need to consider the frequency, duration and focus of their video content, coupled with the size and loyalty of their audience. This helps to identify the best possible monetization solution.

What are the monetization models?

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Advertising Video on Demand (AVOD) – the most popular and easy to start model. It’s ideal for businesses that are frequently publishing shorter content with a broad focus to a mass audience. The barrier to entry is low, however, it can be challenging to generate revenue due to the mass audience requirement. Social media marketing efforts often drive the audience base and it can become very resource intensive. Customer lifetime value is typically low. For businesses that fit the basic requirements for AVOD, it can be the ideal choice. However, each company should the challenges of monetizing with an AVOD approach.

Transactional Video on Demand (TVOD) – requires exclusive content, such as boxing or MMA, and an enthusiastic, dedicated fan base who enjoys the businesses’ long-form content. Typically, the businesses that leverage this model deliver content in low to moderate frequency with a broad-to-high focus, and a small-to-moderate audience. An advantage is that it tends to have high revenue per view. The challenge, however, is the continual investment required to make repeat sales. There’s no built-in retention or revenue security with a TVOD approach, however, with the right content and audience, it can be very successful.

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Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) – ideal for businesses with large libraries of longer form content (more than 20 minutes). Live streaming broadcasts also tend to be successful with this strategy. With the SVOD model, video needs to be distributed at a moderate to high frequency. Typically, success happens when there also is a moderate to high focus and audience. When leveraging this model, the business needs a dedicated marketing team because acquisition and conversion are critical elements to success. SVOD’s unique attribute is recurring revenue – and many businesses are able to generate more revenue, faster than with the AVOD or TVOD models. Also, with subscriptions, it is generally cheaper to retain a subscriber than to acquire a new one, which in general can be four-to-five times more profitable.

For businesses without an established video monetization program, SVOD is often a good starting point. For the SVOD model, it is critical to build a marketing strategy that will support customer acquisition and retention to feed the recurring revenue stream. Teams need to figure out which strategies and tactics will drive subscribers. The technology upon which content is managed and distributed also comes in to play. Businesses should focus on selecting an infrastructure that can stream video directly to the consumer while helping the audience and business grow. This takes all the work out of the management and distribution element — freeing up time and talent to focus on creating delightful content for the audience. It’s also important for the business to understand video operations. Customer support is critical, and without good support, all aspects of the business can be impacted.

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There are many factors that go into monetizing a direct-to-consumer video business. However, media companies that leverage certain video distribution software are able to not only stream video, but also gain audience insights, advertising and subscription options across all devices — all managed within a single infrastructure. Companies that offer these advantages are working with video-driven organizations to take their video directly to consumers and successfully monetize their business with an SVOD model.

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Sony Exploring Sale Of Crackle Stake To Make It “More Competitive”

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Sony is looking to take on a partner in Crackle, its ad-supported streaming service, in order to make it more competitive in a saturated marketplace.
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Tubi TV Raises $20 Million for Ad-Supported Video Service, Plans to Open Los Angeles Office

Read on: Variety.

San Francisco-based video service Tubi TV has raised a new $20 million round of funding in a round led by Jump Capital, with participation of Danhua Capital, Cota Capital and Foundation Capital. The company wants to use the new cash infusion to grow both its staff and its user base, Tubi TV CEO Fahrad Massoudi… Read more »