Having signed a flurry of recent content licensing deals with major studios, media management software company Plex has clearly been developing some form of streaming venture.
On Dec. 4, Los Gatos, California-based Plex let the world know it’s joining the increasingly crowded AVOD market, launching an ad-supported streaming service in more than 200 countries that will compete with the Roku Channel, Viacom’s Pluto TV, Amazon’s IMDB TV, Walmart’s Vudu Movies on Us and startup Tubi, among ad-supported streaming platforms.
Plex is widely known for making software that helps consumers organize their downloaded movies, podcasts, music files and whatever else is in their digital media collection. The thumbnail-laden user interface to the AVOD platform will now live inside that software, accessible under a “movies & entertainment” heading.
Plex’s streaming platform (pictured) will be accessible through most OTT ecosystems, including Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Android TV, as well as iOS and Android mobile devices.
Plex conceded the AVOD market is crowded, but said its international focus will give it an edge over companies like Roku, Tubi and ViacomCBS, which have only recently made inroads to markets like Europe.
In recent months, Plex had announced content deals with MGM, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, Lionsgate and Legendary, structuring these arrangements to prioritize international rights for content that will be festooned, the company said, with a third of the advertising load found on linear TV. (This pre- and mid-roll approach is pretty standard in AVOD.)
Founded in 2009, Plex has secured $11 million in venture backing to date. While it’s a startup competing with the likes of Amazon and Walmart, it does have the advantage of a massive installed software base.