Free over-the top service Xumo says it is seeing an acceleration of interest in streaming and is adding six channels to its programming lineup.
Xumo, which delivers linear channels integrated into smart TV sets, says its number of viewers is up 325% from a year ago and that users are consuming 90% more of its content.
“In the past 18 months there’s been a massive uptick in awareness by consumers that this is an option," said Xumo CEO Colin Petrie-Norris. "We’ve seen an acceleration in consumers going to ad supported or free services. We’re seeing millions of users a month now.”
Petrie-Norris said he expects the company, based by Panasonic and Meredith’s Viant, to turn a profit this year.
Xumo said it is available in 30 million homes, mostly by being integrated into the tuners and remote controls of sets made by Panasonic, LG, Sharp and Hisense.
The service currently offers more than 140 channels and said it adding six more in deals with content companies Eleven Sports, Attn:, Endemol Shine Group and Genius Brands.
Xumo’s deals with content providers are usually advertising revenue shares. In some cases, Xumo, which limited ad loads on its channels to about 8 minutes per hour, sells the ads. In other cases the impressions are passed back to the programmer’s ad server and its ad sales team. There are also hybrid arrangements, where the programmer sells ads in some break and Xumo sells others.
While Xumo offers a mobile product, Petrie-Norris said 95% of its consumption is on connected TV. “It’s the most sought-after screen for both advertisers and the content world.”
Most advertisers still buy ads on Xumo based on traditional demographics, but Petrie-Norris says the company has the ability to slice and dice its audience into segments that allow for advanced targeting using third part data.
In any case, because many Xumo viewers don’t have a cable box or antenna and using the service as their exclusive source of linear programming, it is providing extra incremental reach with an audience that advertise can buy through traditional channels. “It’s very effective, very efficient,” he said.
Though cord-cutters are usually pictured as millennials, Xumo viewers are distributed across the age spectrum.
Xumo’s current channels are spread across 12 genres.
The new programming deals bring additional sports, lifestyle and kids content.
· The Eleven Sports channel on Xumo will provide around the clock coverage of live events from all over the globe. Available on channel 732, the programming will focus on emerging and mainstream sports content that is not currently readily available – giving underserved fans the opportunity to access their favorite sports anywhere, anytime, on the move and on catch-up.
· The Attn: channel on Xumo includes several of its original hit series, including America Versus, Your Food’s Roots with Zooey Deschanel, Health Hacks with Jessica Alba and We Need to Talk with Nev Schulman and Laura Perlongo. Attn: is also planning to launch an additional original series on Xumo later this year.
· Endemol Shine Group brings its most popular series to Xumo with 2 dedicated channels -- Mr Bean and Friends and Puddle Jumper, both of which are aimed at five-to-nine year olds. The Mr Bean and Friends channel also features over 12 series from Mr Bean – The Animated Series and Charlie & Lola. Puddle Jumper, which has already generated more than 17 million views to date, will also stream on Roku, and showcases popular children’s series Bananas in Pyjamas and Bottle Top Bill.
· The Genius Brands International’s Kid Genius Cartoon Channel, part of the Genius Brands Network, offers programming that supports science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills, as well as social-emotional development and literacy skills. This “content with a purpose,” includes Warren Buffett’s Secret Millionaires Club, featuring 26 half-hour episodes and 26 shorts created and produced in partnership with and starring financier Warren Buffett, and Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab, where kids learn that “Science is a Blast.”. A separate channel, also part of the Genius Brand Network, Baby Genius TV provides enriching and entertaining content for toddlers who learn best through music and characters that ignite their imagination. Educational programs include Baby Genius, Rainbow Valley Fire Department and Animal Mechanicals.
Petrie-Norris said that while the TV world is rushing to compete with Netflix by building their own direct-to-consumer businesses, the free, ad supported streaming segment is less crowded and growing.
In addition to its current distribution through smart TV, Xumo is talking to cable operator about being integrated into set-top boxes.
“We can port our channels and our service into a variety of different IP friendly environments and consumers are asking for us in more places,” Petrie Norris said..
“We are very small in a world of giants. Consumers are realizing the service is available and building their habit around it,” he said. "I think the next 12 months are really going to be formative for us.”
Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.
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