Low-priced streaming service Frndly TV said it reached an agreement with Family Entertainment Television to distribute FETV to its subscribers, who said in surveys they wanted FETV added to Frndly’s lineup.
FETV becomes the 20th channel on Frndly, which launched in 2019 offering family-friendly programming.
Frndly TV said it would not be increasing prices. Since launch, it has had three tiers starting at $5.99. Frndly has added six channels since February without a rate increase.
“This is a milestone for us,” Bassil El-Khatib, CEO of Frndly TV, told Broadcasting+Cable. The service had planned to get to 20 channels faster, but was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. “It actually worked in our favor. We’ve gotten smarter and gotten more feedback from our consumers so we can make better decisions on those channels.”
He said subscribers are vocal about what channels they would like to see on the service and how urgent it is to them that Frndly TV keep its price low.
“We think we can actually add some more channels and still maintain our price point,” El Khatib said. “It’s something we’re very proud of because we know it’s very important to our consumer base.”
He said that unlike many other virtual multichannel video programming distributors, Frndly TV continues to operate profitably and that it continues to add subscribers. He declined to provide an update on the 440,000 figure for yearend 2020 it reported in March.
“It’s amazing how engaged our customers are,” El Khatib said. “They’re constantly on Facebook, social media, making suggestions. I know a lot of other companies have their standard ‘thank you for your suggestion,’ but we actually gather the data and it help us direct our attention to what people might be interested in.”
Subscribers had indicated interest in FETV and one of Frndly TV’s surveys confirmed it. “FETV popped,” El Khatib said. “So we said ‘let’s see if we can make this deal’ and we were able to make a deal happen.”
FETV features classic and inspirational programming, including TV series from the 1950s through the 1990s like Perry Mason, Matlock, Barney Miller and Bewitched.
“FETV and Frndly TV are a fantastic fit,” said FETV CEO Drew Sumrall. “Our family-friendly entertainment perfectly matches Frndly’s market positioning as a wholesome content provider. We look forward to bringing our beloved, timeless programming to Frndly subscribers for many years to come.”
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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