Mediarazzi Cuts Costs Of Connected-TV Plays

Connected TVs are becoming popular destinations for video streaming apps and services, but the development and engineering costs can be steep for startups and other relatively small over-the-top players.

Knoxville, Tenn.-based Mediarazzi said it’s lowering the financial bar on app development with the debut of its Express Channel Development program, which can get a company up and running for less than $10,000. That price “levels the playing field” for smaller content producers looking to connect with smart TVs and streaming players and carve out space alongside more established OTT providers, the company said.

Under the program, partners can create a custom, branded connected TV “channel” simultaneously on three top connected television platforms – Roku, the Amazon Fire TV and Opera TV, a platform that has a presence on TiVo DVRs.

Mediarazzi said the program, which starts at $9,995, includes channel development (graphic design and coding) and submission to the individual OTT platforms with “guaranteed approval.” Partners will also be on the hook for a “modest maintenance fee,” depending on how much video content is uploaded, ranging from $250 per month for up to 20 Gigabytes of storage to $500 per month for up to 100 GB.

The base price also includes the integration of advertising platforms that could be used to offset those monthly fees, the company said. The starter program does not include features such as in-app purchases or single sign-on, but those can be added for a fee, Mediarazzi said.

Mediarazzi said streaming channel development costs are sporadic — starting at around $15,000 on the low end and rising to $25,000 for its channel development program equivalent to more than $50,000 for a “high-end, feature-rich channel” that’s limited to one platform.

Mediarazzi is already working on more than two dozen new channels, company CEO Phil Autelitano told Next TV in a Twitter exchange. The company got off the ground in March of 2014 with the launch of its first channel, Raw Country, and has since developed The Movie Trailer Channel and The Video Game Channel, as well as channels in partnership with Paula Deen, retired boxing champion and gold medalist Oscar De La Hoya, Stand Up! Records and Cooking With Nonna, an OTT service that focuses on Italian cuisine.

The company also hopes to jump on an emerging trend in which content partners convert their YouTube channels to connected TV channels, believing that the latter approach can result in higher CPMs (cost per thousand impressions).

Mediarazzi enters the fray as connected TV devices grow in popularity. About half of U.S. broadband homes now own a connected TV device, a category that spans smart TVs, game consoles, streaming players and Blu-ray Disc players, according to an NPD Group study released last week. Per the research firm, the number of homes with a connected device stands at about 46 million, up 4 million since second-quarter 2014.