FreeCast-owned Rabbit TV said this week that it now has over 4 million subscribers, something achieved in little more than two years on the market.
With what looks to be the biggest ever Q2 subscriber loss (see separate article in this issue), the pay TV industry still hasn’t turned the corner on the phenomena of cord cutting – or more typically, cord shaving. The latter practice, of opting for a cheaper bundle and supplementing it with an OTT service, is particularly damaging for pay TV, as the largest margins are enjoyed on the premium bundles.
Consequently those OTT platforms have found that there’s quite a lot of space in which to coexist with the pay TV providers – who were initially cast as direct rivals, but have come to be more like uneasy bedfellows, competing for the emerging on-demand consumer. It’s unlikely that the pay TV providers’ OTT platforms themselves would have come to the fore so quickly without the presence of companies like Netflix leading the way and forcing them to play catchup.
But the shift from primarily cable and satellite distribution seems confirmed by the strong performance of the pay TV companies’ broadband segments, which have grown across the board. For an increasing amount of consumers, the internet connection is more important to their viewing habits than the cable card or satellite dish.
This is where the likes of FreeCast’s Rabbit TV come in, and the larger names like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, as these businesses are using the internet connections provided by the likes of Comcast and Verizon to erode the value of Xfinity and FiOS. The pure OTT players are effectively carving out a niche (cord-shaving) and picking up those shavings that break free of the incumbents – and the FreeCast-owned Rabbit TV has said this week that it now has over 4 million subscribers in little more than two years on the market.
Rabbit TV’s is owned by FreeCast’s which in turn is owned by parent Nextelligence and Nextelligence has recently been named one of the quickest developing tech startups of all time, by Inc. Magazine. Nextelligence posted 1308% growth in the past three years, and was recorded as having $2.5 million revenue in 2014. Part of this growth stems from its recent launch of a free Rabbit TV Facebook app, which is designed to introduce potential viewers to its $10 offering by providing a limited catalog of 250 streaming channels.
The idea is then to shift these viewers onto the larger Rabbit TV platform, which collates free-to-view content, live channels, and premium streams inside the Rabbit TV portal. The idea is that Rabbit’s annual fee is the price of having a managed environment that collates the most desirable content for viewers looking for an easier OTT experience.
To this end, FreeCast says Rabbit has over 350,000 TV episodes, 100,000 movies, 500 streaming channels, an expansive calendar of live events, 50,000 radio stations, and a vast collection of music videos and games. Having ditched its initial USB-dongle authorization device, Rabbit is now a software-only platform, accessible on pretty much any device that’s able to provide a web browser.
FreeCast CEO William Mobley has gone on the record stating that the recent quarterly losses for pay TV companies can only be a good thing for platforms like Rabbit. “We’re a virtual MSO. We call it a Media Aggregation Platform (MAP), but it’s the same concept. There are channels out there: CBS, ESPN, HBO, and yes even Netflix is essentially a channel. Just like the cable companies, we bring all freely available and paid channels together in one place and make it easy. That convenience is essential. Rabbit TV is going to be the thing that allows a lot of these millions of users who want to cut the cord to actually do it.”
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