Inside Content

05.04.22

Samsung on the FAST and AVOD environment | Inside Content Podcast

Jonathan

Jonathan Nickell Chief Operating Officer

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We first discuss Samsung TV Plus and its history. The Samsung TV Plus has been available for five years now in Europe. After initially launching in German speaking territories of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, it has now grown to 16 territories across the region. Richard describes Samsung TV Plus to me as a free TV service providing easy access with no login to a range of locally curated linear channels, as well as VOD content spamming many different genres. Channels range from live News such as CNN and Bloomberg, to dedicated channels focused on movies, kids, scripted and unscripted drama all of which is available in HD. To summarise Samsung TV Plus provides Samsung TV and mobile owners the ability to be entertained, free of charge, on an easily accessible platform in the form of your Samsung TV.

There have been a myriad of channels launching on Samsung TV Plus as of late, so I ask Richard what the process is of getting a channel on to the system. Richard mentions it is imperative that any content that goes onto Samsung TV Plus in a particular market is localised, meaning that the content is in tune with the audience needs in each market, as well as having a structure of different content that is tailored for that particular market. Richard tells me how he has a team of people who are based across Samsung’s available markets, and a channel might approach that team to discuss launching their content there. From there a commercial deal is formulated bringing that channel or content into the service.

This led me to ask Richard whether with the growing size of Samsung TV Plus and also taking into account the competitive landscape, specifically, the plethora of content available across AVOD, SVOD and Pay TV, how selective is Samsung when it adds a channel onto their service. Richard mentions how Samsung TV Plus must be perceived from consumers differently compared to a service that allows consumers to access content through the internet. Richard mentions how it is imperative for users to feel like Samsung TV Plus is the type of service and has the content that you would enjoy in the comfort of your sofa and living room. This means that the pipeline of channels must come from strong brands, whilst being unique compared to the channels you might get from PayTV or through the antenna. This also translates in having the right talent on TV that people can recognise to make the service feel special. Overall, it seems that Samsung TV is really strategising on quality over volume.

I read recently about a deal Samsung made with ITV and asked Richard for more information. Richard mentions how Samsung have a strong relationship with the people from ITV, and this deal is part of Samsung’s mission to bring great content onto their service. As of now there are two ITV channels on Samsung TV Plus and the ambition is to launch many more with the ITV team. Richard references how these deals are reminiscent of the deals Samsung has made with other large content owners such as the BBC, Banijay, Lionsgate and many more. This goes to show how as Samsung TV Plus picks up steam more and more high-quality content owners will feel the necessity to include their channels on Samsung. Richard mentions it shows the commitment Samsung has in bringing quality brands into their offering. Richard also mentions how Samsung TV Plus is trying to incorporate technology into this as well. A recent partnership Samsung has made is with Sky Deutschland, to broadcast Das Boot season 3 in Germany, exclusively on their 8k televisions. So not only is Samsung’s ambition to bring high-quality content, but also showcase some of Samsung’s technology.

I ask Richard whether he believes there is room for Samsung to launch their own operated channels. Richard tells me this is a core pillar of Samsung’s strategy for the service. They launched their first owned operated channel in Europe last year. Samsung TV Plus now has a range of bingeable channels consumers would recognise immediately such as the Bay Watch channel. There are other channels which Samsung have launched recently which are operated by themselves, such as a new comedy channel called the Comedy Hub which includes a Russell Brand show filmed last year. These Samsung run channels are something Samsung are committed to continue. Another interesting element of Samsung TV Plus that Richard mentions is how it also includes shows right after their original broadcasting. For example the new American Idol show is entered onto the service twice weekly, within two days of those shows broadcasting in the US.

With the growing attention and buzz AVOD has been getting I ask Richard how he believes the space will develop, and whether he believes it is turning into something of a bubble. Richard affirms the space will continue to develop in his opinion. He mentions how the earlier example of American Idol shows how Samsung’s partners are eager to push the boundaries on the rights Samsung have access to. Partners are interested in FAST and want to try new ways of licensing their content within a FAST environment, and for that reason Richard believes the space will continue to grow on a broader context. Richard thinks FAST will continue to provide additional value to pay services, by ensuring content is available to a wider audience.

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