Dreams Launches Mobile TV Lineup, Raises $5M

Dreams, a startup focused on TV content for smartphones, said it has raised a $5 million Series A round led by Capital Ventures, and introduced a channel lineup that features content from partners such as Discovery, Bloomberg Media Distribution and BBC Studios.

The new, free Dreams app is available on iOS and Android devices and doesn’t require users to log-in or register.

New York-based Dreams was founded in 2016. It introduced its mobile TV concept, which focuses on the vertical-viewing format and a swipe-based interface, more than a year ago.

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The launch today marks a relaunch of sorts, as Dream has introduced smartphone-focused channels featuring shows and other content from Animal Planet (River Monsters, Too Cute! and Puppy Bowl); Bloomberg; Discovery Channel (Survivorman, Storm Chasers, and Dual Survival); Food Network (Good Eats, Iron Chef America, and Throwdown with Bobby Flay); Geo (long-form nature and animal documentaries licensed from BBC Studios), HGTV (My First Place, Extreme Homes and Tiny House Hunters); Newsflash (live news feeds); Slow (“minimalist,” soothing shots of landscapes, streams and rainfall); VHS (full episodes from TV shows from the ‘80s and ‘90s, including The Joy of Painting, Inspector Gadget, Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego, and Sonic the Hedgehog).

Also on the initial slate is Wedding Week, a “pop-up” channel that will feature a live stream of the Royal Wedding on May 19 as well as a long-form documentary on the subject).

What Dreams has tried to steer clear of is the notion of pasting a traditional skinny TV into a smartphone format.

“The idea of instant on, mobile TV to your phone with swipeable channels in a simple app has always been our goal,” Tom Bender, CEO and co-founder of Dreams, said in a recent interview.

Bender, formerly of Google and a team focused on new ad formats at DoubleClick, added that Dreams has been investing R&D dollars in the past year to build up technology that delivers content that is optimized for the smartphone’s vertical screen.

Dreams will be pursing an ad-based business model. Shows for its platform have been edited for the vertical screen, as will the ads that will be dynamically served into those linear-style feeds.

Typically, Dreams will program one full episode per day on each library channel.

“It’s clear from the advertisers what they are advertising against,” Bender said.

“We see this as a complement to paid services like Netflix,” added Dreams co-founder Greg Hochmuth, who is late of Instagram and Google.

Dreams’s A round also included participation by NEA, SV Angel, Box Group, Scott Belsky, and Kevin Durant.

More detail about Dreams and its strategy will be featured in the May 21 issue of Broadcasting & Cable