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Rooster Teeth Expands SVOD Play

With a growing number of niche-focused SVOD services entering the market, new and existing players are trying new ways to attract new subscribers and keep existing ones on the hook. 

Offering further proof that video is just one element of the evolving over-the-top SVOD market, Rooster Teeth, a “digital-first” content studio focused on comedy and gaming, has introduced a two-pronged subscription strategy designed to appeal to its current base of fans as well as subset of “super fans” who are willing to pay a handsome premium for VIP tickets to events, merchandise and other ancillary perks and benefits.

Starting July 1, Rooster Teeth subscribers, formerly known as “sponsors,” as well as new subscribers, will become members of a newly-branded “FIRST” offering that sells for $4.99 per month or $19.99 for six months.

The ad-free FIRST offering will provide perks such as early access to new videos, exclusive behind-the-scenes content and premium series, access to live broadcasts and a “FIRST-only” panel at RTX, Rooster Teeth’s annual gaming/Internet culture event (the next one is set to run July 1-3 in Austin, Texas).

FIRST subscribers will also have the option to  upgrade to a higher-level tier, called Double Gold,  for $34.99 per month, or $179.99 for a six-month subscription that includes everything in FIRST, plus a 10% discount on all Rooster Teeth merchandise, first access to live event VIP passes, and a box of merchandise that carries a value of more than $60, according to the company

Rooster Teeth’s new approach keys on a larger trend in the every-expanding arena of over-the-top SVOD services, which are gravitating toward models that pair core video offerings with additional benefits.

“With our audience, we want to be more than just a video platform,” Matt Hullum, CEO and co-founder of Rooster Teeth, said. “Our audience wants that higher level of engagement and they want more connection. We’re trying to provide more of that on an ongoing basis…But we didn’t want to do anything that would take away from the community origins of the service."

Rooter Reeth has developed apps for iOS and Android mobile devices, and has work underway to expand to others, including set-tops and gaming consoles, this fall.

Rooster Teeth is also one of the first announced partners for VRV, a multichannel video distribution platform from Ellation for fans of anime, gaming, comedy and technology that’s expected to launch later this year on devices such as the Xbox One gaming console.

SVOD is just one of several Rooter Teeth revenue streams. According to Hullum, its revenue mix is fairly event across, SVOD, merchandising, advertising, and licensing.

Rooster Teeth said its paid sub base has doubled to more than 135,000 in the past year, and expects it new, core FIRST base to surpass 200,000  by year-end.

Rooster Teeth also announced several programming updates, noting that it will unleash two new premium narrative shows this year -- Day 5, an apocalyptic drama series in which sleep becomes fatal and four survivors seek a cure before encroaching insomnia and madness take hold, as well as Crunch Time, a half hour sci-fi action comedy starring Nick Rutherford (Good Neighbor) and Samm Levine (Freaks and Geeks, Inglorious Basterds).

Expanded coverage of Rooster Teeth’s new SVOD strategy and programming plans will be featured in an upcoming edition of Next TV, a special section that runs each week in Multichannel News and Broadcasting & Cable.