FreeCast Plans À La Carte Online Channels: “Better than Skinny Bundles”
Amid virtual pay-TV announcements, FreeCast offers a better way for networks to recapture subscribers and revenue.
As more linear channels come to the web in “skinny” virtual pay-TV bundles, FreeCast is getting ready to roll out its own approach to bringing traditional TV channels to the web. Already in talks with major TV networks, FreeCast is proposing a two-pronged approach. First, the company will create linear and VOD channels from the free content that TV networks already make available via their websites. This ad-supported content both generates revenue and engages viewers, presenting a constant opportunity for networks to promote their premium content. Among these premium offerings, FreeCast hopes to include a web-based national feed of those networks’ cable channels.
FreeCast CEO William Mobley explained how his proposal benefits TV networks who are wary of breaking out of traditional channel bundles: “Virtual pay-TV comes with all the same challenges as regular pay-TV, and it’s creating what’s really a dumb problem for the TV industry. Customers that are willing to pay for a channel can’t do so unless they’re willing to take and pay for all these others that they don’t necessarily want. If they aren’t, that would-be customer becomes unreachable. We solve that by reconnecting those networks to viewers, whether they’re subscribers or not, and then giving them the opportunity to subscribe directly to a specific channel or network of channels. This brings back the revenue lost to cord-cutting, cord-shaving, and cord-nevers.”
With Hulu, YouTube, and even rumors of Apple poised to join Sling TV and PlayStation Vue in offering live channels via the web, and even traditional TV providers embrace “skinny bundles,” the entire industry is moving towards the model laid out by FreeCast. The company’s services cost just $2.99 a month, and organize all of the free video on the web into a single interface, available on all web-connected devices. From there, the ability to add paid subscription services and pay-per-view content allows users to access quite literally anything they want to see, while paying only for what they want, putting them in control of both their entertainment and their budget. By definition, virtual pay-TV services are recreating the same thing that consumers are rejecting with their home cable subscriptions, and Variety points out that they’re far from a natural fit for Hulu and YouTube in particular. By giving consumers what they want: à la carte TV on the web, networks are able to recapture revenues that they otherwise would have lost.