If Project Runway is a good fit, Samsung TV Plus has a streaming channel for you.
The consumer electronics company has been populating its Samsung TV Plus collection of ad-supported TV channels with binge channels, built around a single show like Project Runway and 21 Jump Street, or around genres, like Bounce XL, which focuses on shows about Black characters and stories.
Free Ad Supported Streaming channels are proliferating. More people are cutting the cord, but they’re starting to balk at adding subscription services and paying multiple monthly fees. Makers of connected TVs are seeing an opportunity to distinguish their brands by providing free entertainment channels.
Samsung is taking a fairly unique approach by working with content companies to create its own channel options.
Takashi Nakano, senior director of business development and content acquisitions for Samsung TV Plus, tells Broadcasting+Cable that TV Plus is designed to help viewers find content.
“As consumers leave cable and cut the cord, they’re finding there is content they’re missing. It’s content that they used to watch on traditional pay services that’s not available in a pure SVOD environment,” Nakano said.
Viewers using an antenna will be able to find Samsung’s streaming channels in the same program guide as their over-the-air channels. Because of that, Samsung is extra sensitive about the content on its channel, sticking to shows that would meet broadcast standards.
Samsung TV Plus currently delivers about 180 channels, Nearly all of the channels are produced and programmed by third parties. But more and more of the channels are being created by Samsung.
It has been adding channels every month. On Thursday the arrival of the Project Runway channel precedes a new season of the reality competition series on Bravo starting on Oct. 14. Samsung’s channel features episodes from seasons six through 16 as well as Project Runway All Stars seasons one through seven.
Samsung worked with E.W. Scripps Bounce TV on the Bounce XL channel, which includes Bounce original programming, sitcoms and dramas.
In August, Samsung TV Plus added Portlandia, Today All Day, Dr. G Medical Examiner, The Rotten Tomatoes Channel and Are We There Yet from Ice Cube to the lineup.
Some of those channels are binge channels. They give you a show like Baywatch, 24 hours a day 7 days a week. “It’s high quality IP that hasn’t really been on television for decades and has a huge loyal following and has an audience that is really engaged in that content,” Nakano said. “There’s a lot of content that’s ideal in a linear format. Not everything works in an SVOD world."
Nakano is hopeful that if the channels are popular and demonstrate demand for more Baywatch, some type of new content might be created and put on the channel.
The other type of channel Samsung creates are compilation channels. Before Bounce XL it recently launched a channel called All Action. Its content included the four Hunger Games movies. “It’s been highly successful and the engagement’s been off the charts,” Nakano said.
In addition to All Action, other Samsung Plus TV channels include The Movie Hub, Clarity 4K and Wildlife TV.
“These are brands that Samsung has created. We’ve licensed content and created our own amalgamated channels,” Nakano said.
Because Samsung has access to what people are watching on its set, “we’ll learn more about our audience as they watch certain types of content and we’ll learn more about what types of content work and what types of content may not work,” he said.
People find those channels through the electronic program guide and by flipping channels, just like in the early days of cable. “That never went away,” he added.
Nakano said Samsung hasn’t yet figured out the maximum number of channels it should make available via Samsung TV Plus.
“We don't know what that number is,” he said. “We think that there is a maximum number of channels that people start tuning out. And you saw that in traditional pay. We don't want 900 channels that nobody wants to watch. “
In addition to making Samsung smart TV more attractive, Samsung TV is generating advertising revenue.
“As supported content is hot. People like to watch ad supported content without paying for a subscription,” Nakano said.
Samsung can offer advertisers dynamic ad insertion and be part of addressable ad campaigns. “The technology is also a plus for those advertisers. “They know exactly when their ad was delivered and how it was delivered. It’s much more efficient for an advertiser to buy in a connected TV environment than the traditional way,” he said.
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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