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Cineverse, 9 Story launch “Garfield & Friends” FAST channel

The content stream is available on Echostar's free, ad-supported TV platform Sling Freestream

The content stream is available on Echostar's free, ad-supported TV platform Sling Freestream

Cineverse has teamed up with content creator and distributor 9 Story Media Group on a new free, ad-supported streaming television (FAST) channel that offers classic episodes of the animated series “Garfield & Friends.”

The content stream, called “9 Story Presents: Garfield & Friends Channel,” offers all 121 episodes of the classic cartoon series, along with 12 specials and two direct-to-video titles, the companies said.

The Garfield & Friends channel is launching first on Echostar’s Sling Freestream, which is available through the Sling TV app on phones, tablets and streaming TV platforms like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV (Google TV) and Apple TV. As the name implies, Sling Freestream is free to access and does not require a subscription to Sling TV, though subscribers of Sling TV also have access to the channel.

(Courtesy image)

The 9 Story Presents: Garfield & Friends channel is separate from a similar Garfield FAST channel that launched on Paramount Global’s Pluto TV three years ago. That channel was programmed under a separate licensing agreement with a different distributor, according to a person familiar with the arrangement, who couldn’t comment on the specifics of that deal. 9 Story Media has held domestic home video and digital distribution rights to the show since 2016.

The launch of the FAST channel on Sling Freestream comes one month after a new Garfield movie debuted in theaters. The film, distributed by Sony Pictures, has grossed more than $230 million in worldwide box office ticket sales to date, and has been well-received by audiences.

“The movie’s box office success makes it an ideal time to bring Garfield and Friends back into viewers’ homes, so that grownups and a whole new era of fans can enjoy it once again,” Marc Rashba, the Executive Vice President of Partnerships at Cineverse, said in a statement. “As premium content with an established fan base, this new channel is a perfect addition to Cineverse’s offerings for platform partners and audiences.”

Cineverse and 9 Story Media announced their partnership last year, with the companies working together to launch a FAST channel dedicated to the PBS children’s educational series “Barnie.” That channel is available on Sling Freestream, Samsung TV Plus, Xumo Play and The Roku Channel; separately, 9 Story Media also makes episodes of Barney available on YouTube.

The Barney and Garfield & Friends channels were quickly deployed using Matchpoint Dispatch, a proprietary content and audience management platform developed and maintained by Cineverse. The tool gives content licensors the ability to manage their TV shows and movies in the cloud and deploy those assets to Internet-connected video services around the world. It also offers robust measurement of audience engagement and revenue generation, according to a Cineverse product webpage.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.

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