Expanding its burgeoning streaming business Redbox has made a deal with Fremantle that will add three free ad-supported channels to its lineup.
Buzzr, The Price Is Right: The Barker Era and the Baywatch channel will start streaming Dec. 1 via Redbox, which now offers more than 120 channels.
Connected TV and free ad-supported streaming television is a growing business and both Redbox and Fremantle intend to cash in.
Redbox, known for its DVD-rental kiosks, has pushed into streaming. It has 5,000 titles for ad supported video-on-demand in addition to a roster of channels that Chris Yates, general manager of Redbox on Demand told Broadcasting+Cable will continue to grow. “We’ll keep expanding. Not indefinitely, but judiciously, with top-tier partners like Fremantle.”
“We have nearly 40 million people who use Redbox every year,” Yates said. “This kind of content is their sweet spot and we’ll be leaning in really heavily to market these channels to our audience.” Redbox will market the channels via email and other touch points, including through the kiosks over time, he said.
Redbox also plans to get into the subscription video on demand channel business, starting with Curiosity Stream.
Fremantle will program and curate the three new free channels. Redbox will oversee monetization of the channels. The two companies have a revenue sharing arrangement.
“Their success is our success and that’s how we like to work with our partners,” said Mark Deetjen, executive VP of global channels at Fremantle.
Buzzr started as a digital over-the-air channel featuring classic games shows including Match Game, Family Feud, To Tell the Truth, Password and Card Sharks. Redbox will be streaming a mirror image of the over-the-air channel, Deetjen said.
There is a Price Is Right The Barker Channel that has been streaming exclusively on ViacomCBS’s Pluto TV. That exclusivity runs out Dec. 1, when it will start on Redbox also. The channel features episodes going back to the ’80s, featuring classic minigames that have been retired from the current version of the show. The channel will also have quarterly stunts featuring people hitting the $1 while spinning the big wheel on the Showcase Showdown or holiday-themed episodes.
Fremantle has Baywatch channels on a number of streaming platforms including, Samsung and Vizio.
“This is a channel that Fremantle is running ourselves, rather than just licensing content to the platform and allowing them to string episodes together as they see fit,” Deetjen said. Fremantle has created promos, interstitials and other extras for Redbox that other Baywatch channels don’t have.
“We’re using those classic TV programming techniques to prolong engagement,” he said. “They make a channel feel like a channel.”
Redbox is happy to have Fremantle curate the channel,” Yates said.
“Fremantle knows its content, its programming better than anyone. We wouldn’t want to get in the way of that,” Yates said. These are the first channels from Fremantle on Redbox. “Hopefully the first of many,” he said.
Redbox last week announced that it had retained Whistle Group’s Palomino Media Group for direct ad sales. “We’re confident monetization is going to be really successful for these channels.
For Fremantle, streaming represents a growth area. Buzzr has been available over the year for about seven years, but since it started streaming, its reach has grown by over 50%.
“We are reaching an enormous number of people via this platforms and it just keeps growing,” Deejen said.
“We’re in the early stages of the FAST era,” Deetjen said, noting the success companies including Redbox have been having.
“There will be a point of diminishing returns,” he said. “There will be a point at which there will be platforms that can’t be sustained from a revenue perspective. We wouldn’t have done a deal with Redbox if we thought that they were one of them.”
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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