DistroTV adds 120 FAST channels

DistroTV, an independent free ad-supported streaming TV channel provider, is expanding its core content library by triple digits.

The company is adding 120 new FAST channels, marking 87% channel growth year over year, and bringing DistroTV’s tally to more than 270. The channels span news, media and entertainment, sports and lifestyle.  Distro is also touting a multicultural slate with new offerings that cater to English, Southeast Asian, Indian and Spanish-speaking viewers, along with a new bundle of channel content aimed at the African community.

Launched in 2019, DistroTV is now available in more than 60 markets, accessible via apps on streaming devices and smart TVs such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and iOS and Android devices, as well as on the web.

Navdeep Saini, co-founder and CEO of DistroTV parent company DistroScale, said in a statement that the FAST provider has no plans of slowing down.

“The FAST market is on an incredible and steep upward growth trajectory, with even paid streaming platforms now understanding that if they do not embrace and ride this wave, they’ll get left behind,” stated Saini.  “At DistroTV, we’ve long been on a mission to break down barriers to entry and provide free TV for global audiences who want and deserve access to free, engaging programming across a range of cultures and languages. If our growth figures are any indication, we’re well on our way to accomplishing our goals, and we have no plans of slowing down.”

Here are some specifics on the new channel additions:

  • Channels targeting U.S., U.K. and Canadian viewers including 45 sports channels such as beIN Sports Xtra, Swerve Sports, IMPACT Wrestling Channel and more. 13 documentary channels including Goalcast, Beautiful Planet and True History. And entertainment and lifestyle such as AXS TV Now, Heritage+, and Canadian food channel GustoTV.
  •  21 Spanish-language channels available in North America for a total of 25 globally. The company has DistroTV Español, which is aimed at Spanish-language audiences in the U.S. and Latin America.
  •  Expanded Indian channel content on DistroTV Desi, a bundle that’s doubled from 15 channels to 36 free live streaming channels with new additions including ABP, Bollywood Prime, Epic, and FoodFood, among others. Distro first brought a free bundle of channels aimed at South Asian viewers in August 2021.

The service is also launching DistroTV Africa, a new bundle featuring 11 entertainment and music-oriented channels. It’s now available in countries such as Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania, also in those locations native languages.

DistroTV’s latest expansion comes after it debuted DistroTV Español at the start of the year, marking a push into the Latin America market. In Feburary the company announced the premiere of its first original film ““Escándalo Secreto: En Plena Cuarentena,” which DistroTV said “has seen impressive adoption across all LatAm audiences, both in the US and Latin American markets.”

One of DistroTV’s focuses is on underserved audiences, be it through local TV content or niche sports like lacrosse and cycling, Saini told Fierce Video in an interview earlier this year.

“We are essentially building communities of audiences and I think for us, what we focus on is where audiences start engaging with us,” he said. “We can fulfill the need of the underserved audiences.”

DistroTV builds free linear channels for content partners and makes money through what Saini said is essentially an advertising revenue share model. Saini said that there’s an additional value add where the company is making an investment along with a content publisher.

“Typically, they would have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to build a channel every month and then additional money on syndicating that channel,” Saini commented in early 2022. “If we see an opportunity, we build a channel for the partner at no cost to them. Ultimately, that’s an investment in bringing interesting content to our audiences and building our business.”

DistroTV is competing in the growing free ad-supported streaming space, against others like Paramount’s Pluto TV, and Fox’s Tubi, among others.

A recent nScreenMedia blog detailed how Pluto TV was the FAST category leader in March 2022, based on Comscore data looking at the 1.9 billion streaming hours watched in the month outside of the top six CTV streaming services. PlutoTV accounted for 12% or 230 million hours of CTV streaming time outside of the top six (which include Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and HBO Max). Tubi TV followed with 8% or 150 million hours, while Comcast’s Xumo snagged 2% or 40 million hours.

And Distro faces competition in the international market as Pluto has had recent launches in the Nordics and Canada, where it partners with local broadcasters for ad support and local content.