Samsung Has Talked to TCL About Licensing FAST 'TV Plus' for Third-Party Smart TVs (Report)

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Samsung continues to make efforts to license key proprietary software and entertainment components from its smart TV ecosystem to third-party gadget makers.

And the Korean electronics company has reportedly had recent talks with China's TCL about licensing the Samsung TV Plus FAST service for deployment in TCL sets.

Veteran media-tech reporter Janko Roettgers first broke the news on his new newsletter, Lowpass (opens in new tab). Neither Samsung nor TCL has confirmed or commented on these reported discussions.

Samsung announced in October (opens in new tab) that it would begin licensing its TVOS, Tizen, to third-party smart TV original development manufacturers Atmaca, HKC and Tempo. And Samsung started licensing Tizen to makers of mobile phones (opens in new tab) and other non-smart TV gadgets two years ago. Roettgers told Next TV over LinkedIn Friday that the discussions with TCL and other third-party TV makers are separate and involve only the Samsung TV Plus free ad-supported streaming service.

Launching in 2015, Samsung TV Plus boasts more than 200 channels (opens in new tab) in the U.S. market. And it now distributes around 1,800 channels total across 24 countries. According to Roettgers, its active user count has reached 17.4 million, which is no tiny audience, but much smaller than the 70 million-plus-size active user bases enjoyed by rival FASTs such as Roku and Pluto TV.

As Roettgers also points out, core to Samsung's TV Plus strategy has been the deployment of exclusive channels, such as “The Movie Hub,” “Kitchen Nightmares” and “Samsung Wild Life.” He said Samsung originally tried to interest third-party set makers in licensing just its exclusive channels, but didn't get anywhere with that. Thus, Samsung is trying to license its entire TV Plus service.

Samsung remains the world's biggest seller of smart TVs, moving 42 million units in 2021 alone, according to research company Omdia.

Putting so many of its branded flagship products in living rooms globally paves runway for Samsung to sell the same customers a wide range of other home electronic devices and appliances.

But the FAST advertising business is showing the kind of promise, in and of itself, that justifies its expansion away from the Samsung hardware footprint in order to grow.

According to the latest FAST data put out by research company TVREV, FASTs will soon surpass cable and broadcast in revenue. And by 2027, they'll generate $69 billion out of an overall U.S. TV ad budget of $101 billion.

As for TCL, it burst onto the North American scene as a smart TV maker around four years ago with inexpensive Roku-powered sets that undercut Samsung and fellow Korean CE company LG.

But TCL has recently shown a willingness to license third-party OS and other software from numerous places. TCL said at CES 2022 that it had shipped 10 million devices globally powered by Android TV and Google TV, for example. ■

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!