With audiences more confined to their couches amid quarantine, there’s an increased demand for entertainment options — and specifically, free ones. VIZIO plans to address that demand by introducing 30 new (free) 24-hour channels to its SmartCast Home platform.
The rollout, first reported by Variety on Tuesday, is live already and will include a slate of new channels from the likes of publishers like USA Today, CBC, TMZ, Hollywire, Food52, Fubo and more. Having a range of content from recognizable publishers across genres only stands to strengthen the appeal of the SmartCast platform for VIZIO device owners. Even without these 30 new channels, viewing sessions on SmartCast were already increasing — up 57% over the past three weeks, according to VIZIO.
“More people are discovering our free content offerings and making them part of their daily routines right now,” said Mike O’Donnell, Senior Vice President, Platform Business. “We recognize the important role that TV plays in the home, especially when families are being asked to stay inside. It’s important for us to deliver popular content to consumers and we are focused on continually expanding additional free and premium options for our VIZIO SmartCast TV customers.”
With millions of TV sets in the market already, VIZIO is able to immediately introduce this content to a sizeable and (by the looks of recent data) captive audience. Following up on December 2019’s VIZIO Ads announcement, it also represents the brand’s growing opportunity to provide relevant ads against premium TV content.
As consumers adjust to a “new normal” and settle into new viewing habits, VIZIO and other providers of quality video content stand to benefit from an increased interest in easy viewing experiences. Between a growing raft of SmartCast channels, plus apps for popular services like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, YouTube and more, VIZIO’s in a strong position to be the primary conduit through which audiences access video entertainment.
It’s not a bad place to be given our current moment in time, and it potentially sets VIZIO up well on the other side of the pandemic too, as viewers could see the company’s free channels as something more aligned with personal budgets.
The full list of new, free VIZIO channels is included below:
Entertainment: Divorce Court, Dust, Fail Army, Hollywire. Just for Laughs Gags, Law & Crime, People Are Awesome, Rifftrax, TMZ
Movies/Documentaries: CONtv, Docurama, FilmRise Free Movies, FilmRise Sci-Fi, MagellanTV, Reelz
Sports: Adventure Sports Network, Fubo Sports Network, OutsideTV, USA Today Sports Wire
Music: Baeble Music, Hallypop, Latido Music, Qello Concerts
News: CBC News, USA Today, WeatherSpy
Food: Food52, Hungry
Nature/Animals: Pet Collective, Stingray Ambience
Home: The Design Network, This Old House