Motion pictures have always played well on television, and now movies are increasingly popular with cord-cutters on the newest video entertainment technology, streaming.
Xumo, the free, ad supported streaming service, recently added thousands of movies to its content offerings and they are now the second most-popular category on the platform, second only to news, according to Stefan Van Engen, senior VP of content at Xumo.
When Xumo users watch a movie, there’s a 90% chance they’ll come back for more, boosting usage of the service, Van Engen added.
Over-the-top viewing had been mushrooming and while many media companies are looking to emulate the success of Netflix’s subscription model, the field has gotten crowded and sign-ups have slowed.
Instead, ad-supported streaming platforms are hot. In January, Viacom agreed to pay $340 million for Pluto TV and there have been reports that Sinclair Broadcast Group and others were looking to buy Xumo.
Last year Xumo broadened its content offering to include about 10,000 titles and now the Free Movies channel is the most viewed channel within its TV & Movie genre. TV & Movie is third among Xumo’s 12 genres behind news and kid & family.
The Free Movies channel saw a 7% increase in January from December in time stream, and Xumo expects it to show another 5% to 8% growth in February when all the data is in.
The most popular movie genres have been horror and comedy. The service has also gotten strong results from movies attached to tent pole events, with holiday films attracting audience during the Christmas season and romantic movies being embraced around Valentine’s Day.
Xumo also has a preview channel with the latest movie trailers and short-form behind-the-scenes material from the studios.
Van Engen noted that as a free service Xumo was seeing big growth overall. “There’s no barrier to entry. There’s no cost. There’s no sign-ups. It’s just integrated into your TV with the Xumo platform and you’re open to all these free movies,” he said.
Xumo runs commercials during movies, unlike Netflix or Amazon, but Xumo aims to keep the ad load about half of what viewers see on broadcast and cable. “We want people to stick around,” Van Engen said, noting that viewers are spending two hours per day on Xumo.
As a digital platform, Xumo’s ads can be offered on an addressable basis or targeted with enriched data. “We’re also doing contextual sale,” Van Engen said. Xumo sells ads both through a direct sales team and via programmatic private marketplaces.
Van Engen said he wasn’t surprised that movies were big with Xumo users. “As you look at a service as a whole like Xumo, I think the interesting thing is having news number one and movies number two,” he said. “This is a platform that really services cord-cutters and so now you’ve got your information and your entertainment in one place.”