Streaming TV marketplace MyBundle.TV will launch a free, ad-supported television (FAST) service later this year, the company's co-founder confirmed in an interview this week.
The service will offer linear streaming channels with content sourced primarily from third party distributors, MyBundle.TV's co-founder Jason Cohen affirmed.
In that sense, the upcoming FAST service will resemble several that are already on the market, including Samsung TV Plus, which offers around 200 linear content streams for users of Samsung devices. Light Reading first reported details on MyBundle.TV's FAST plans last week.
In an interview with Fierce Video this week, Cohen said he doesn't view MyBundle.TV's forthcoming FAST service as a competitor to Samsung TV Plus and others. Instead, he views it as one part of a holistic, value add solution for MyBundle.TV's 85 internet service partners, many of which offer a white-label version of the company's streaming marketplace to help connect their broadband customers with more than 100 free and subscription streaming services.
"Our broadband provider partners, many of them used to be in the video business — many of them still are in the video business — and they like providing video," Cohen said. "The problem is that the economics of the video industry went upside down, and consumers are not looking to pay a ton of money for that big bundle of content anymore."
MyBundle.TV launched in 2019 on the idea that TV viewers coming from traditional cable or satellite would be attracted to "bundling" various streaming services together. Within months of its launch, Cohen began receiving calls from mid- to small-sized broadband internet providers — many of whom also offer traditional video service — seeking to partner with MyBundle.TV on their video streaming marketplace.
"The line we keep hearing is, video is 95% of my complaints and zero percent of my profits," Cohen said in a 2020 interview.
Those phone calls led to the development of a white-label solution that natively integrates into the websites of MyBundle.TV's broadband partners. To date, MyBundle.TV has partnered with more than 80 ISPs whose collective 8.8 million customers are able to compare around 160 streaming services straight from the MyBundle.TV marketplace.
The company's broadband partners receive a cut of whatever commission MyBundle.TV makes from subscription sales (to date, Cohen said around 30 streaming services have affiliate agreements with MyBundle.TV). Likewise, Cohen said those partners will receive a portion of the advertisement revenue from the forthcoming FAST service when it launches later this year.
Cohen acknowledged that the FAST marketplace is quickly becoming saturated — along with Samsung TV Plus, other players like Comcast (Xumo), Sinclair Broadcasting Group (STIRR), Fox Corporation (Tubi TV) and Paramount Global (Pluto TV) have either launched or acquired their own FAST services over the last few years — but said MyBundle.TV's forthcoming service isn't expected to compete with those.
Instead, the MyBundle.TV FAST service is being viewed internally as a product that adds value to the company's partnerships with broadband providers. Cohen said it will also exist to educate broadband customers on FAST as a product that they can use to supplement subscription services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney Plus that are increasingly drawing TV viewers away from costly cable and satellite bundles.
"We're not looking to go head-to-head with Pluto TV in New York City — we don't need 50 million people using our tool right now," Cohen said. "Instead, we have an opportunity to help our broadband partners make streaming free, linear TV content simpler for their customers as they bring more fiber broadband to communities for the first time, the same way we're helping those customers find streaming services through our marketplace."
Cohen said MyBundle.TV is currently speaking with content distributors about the upcoming service, and he anticipates launching with anywhere from 20 to 50 linear channels in either late May or early June. At launch, the service will be accessible through web browsers through partner ISPs and MyBundle.TV's standalone marketplace; Cohen said MyBundle.TV is still weighing options to bring the FAST service to other platforms, including streaming devices, at a later time.