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Exclusive: MyBundle launches connected TV apps for free streaming service

The MyBundle Free TV app offers 45 linear content streams on Roku, Fire TV, Android TV and other platforms.

The MyBundle Free TV app offers 45 linear content streams on Roku, Fire TV, Android TV and other platforms.

MyBundle Free TV offers 45 linear channels of content ranging from entertainment to sports programming.
MyBundle Free TV offers 45 linear channels of content ranging from entertainment to sports programming. (Courtesy image)

MyBundle is bringing its free, ad-supported streaming television (FAST) service to the biggest screen in the house.

The service, called MyBundle Free TV, is now accessible through dedicated apps for Roku, Amazon’s Fire TV, Android TV (Google TV), LG webOS and other platforms, marking the first time that the FAST service powered by the streaming service aggregator has been available anywhere beyond MyBundle’s own website.

MyBundle Free TV joins a growing list of FAST platforms offering no-cost content streams supported with advertisements. It represents an evolution of MyBundle’s business strategy, which is shifting from one that points former cable subscribers toward subscription streaming alternatives in favor of a plan to guide all streamers toward new or familiar things to watch.

Several years ago, when MyBundle introduced its streaming TV marketplace, it did so with the idea that consumers might want to “bundle” different services together in the same way that cable and satellite programmers offered networks in different programming packages. At the time, Cohen and others believed MyBundle would be competing directly with pay TV platforms, but many of them soon came asking for their help.

As Cohen told The Desk in December 2020, “the line we keep hearing is, video is 95 percent of my complaints and zero percent of my profits.” In other words, pay TV companies weren’t making very much money off video programming. They wanted to shift their business focus from video to broadband, which is more-profitable, while directing customers who wanted live and premium video experiences toward streaming.

The streaming video landscape has transformed dramatically since then, with FAST content platforms becoming a bigger part of the equation. FAST platforms like Paramount’s Pluto TV and Fox Corporation’s Tubi have seen an uptick in adoption and viewership, to the point that they regularly appear on Nielsen’s streaming video measurement report called The Gauge.

MyBundle wanted in on the action. Plans to develop and launch a free TV offering began more than a year ago, when MyBundle began considering ways to develop and launch a service that could help generate additional revenue while also serving as a value-add for its broadband partners.

Things accelerated when Chief Product Officer Scott Barton attended the StreamTV Show last year. There, he met with executives at OTTera, a company that provides enterprise-level, software-based solutions for companies looking to develop and deploy FAST platforms and content streams.

OTTera was no stranger to MyBundle — the two companies had worked together on different initiatives over the past few years, and Barton was happy to bring the company on board to assist with the development and deployment of their FAST offering on connected TVs.

“We have the most cost-effective structure and approach in this space,” Jordan Warkol, the Vice President of Business Development at OTTera, said in an interview with The Desk on Monday. “So, I think that that led us to helping them on the FAST side.”

Both sides are still working together to explore monetization strategies that will benefit MyBundle and its 250-plus broadband partners in the future. Eventually, MyBundle wants to offer broadband providers the opportunity to co-brand the MyBundle Free TV experience across connected TV platforms, and reap the benefits of ad inventory sold against the streaming content channels.

“We definitely see it as a business unto itself,” Cohen said.

Around a dozen more content streams are slated to launch soon, Cohen told The Desk. The company is being deliberative about which content and distribution deals it pursues, with OTTera, Amagi, Wurl and others providing their support and services where needed. At the moment, MyBundle Free TV isn’t planning to offer an on-demand content library, though Cohen didn’t rule it out for the future.

The launch of MyBundle FAST TV on streaming TV platforms comes several weeks after MyBundle introduced a new mobile app that links streamers to content found across different subscription services. The MyBundle mobile app also includes a dedicated watch list, subscription management across supported apps and content recommendations based on different elements like time-of-day and mood.

When asked if MyBundle will integrate its FAST platform into the new mobile app, Cohen didn’t seem overly excited by the idea, though he also didn’t say it wouldn’t eventually happen.

“The real point is about having MyBundle Free TV on your Roku, your Android TV, your Fire TV, your LG TV,” Cohen asserted. “We believe the TV screen is the best place to watch TV.”

Disclosure: The StreamTV Show is operated by StreamTV Insider, formerly known as Fierce Video. The author of this story is a prior contributor to StreamTV Insider.

 

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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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