Outside TV Features and vendor Maz highlight freemium approach to SVOD market

Outside TV Features is available for $4.99 per month. (Outside TV)

Outside TV recently announced it expanded the distribution of its SVOD service, the $4.99-per-month offering dubbed Outside TV Features, to platforms including iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast. The company’s tech vendor, Maz, said the expansion will allow Outside TV to reach more potential customers with its freemium business model, in which it provides some content for free in an effort to entice interested users to pay for additional content.

“If you can give out trailers and short-form content, it really helps the user be retained long enough that they eventually subscribe,” explained Mike Ram, VP of business development for Maz. “Outside TV is very good at this.”

Ram said Outside TV uses Maz’s TVX platform to distribute its SVOD service onto platforms including iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast. He added that Maz recently added Android TV to its lineup of supported platforms and will next expand to gaming consoles.

Maz’s TVX platform allows video providers like Outside TV to tweak their user interface and business model based on customer demand and usage patterns. Specifically, he said TVX clients can offer SVOD, AVOD (advertising-based video on demand) or even TVOD (transactional video on demand) services, thus allowing video providers to test different methods of making money. “That’s where you really need the flexibility,” Ram said. “You can create a usage flow, or a funnel,” he added, pointing to a 7-day free trial as an example.

Some customers “are converting [to paid customers] months after they download the app,” Ram said.

"Through the development process, Maz listened to our needs as a premium video content provider that has both an AVOD and SVOD business model. The early feedback has been tremendously positive from our viewers," Ryan Dadd, Outside TV's SVP of digital, said in a press release.

Outside TV is a longtime cable and satellite TV channel that announced late last year that it would offer an SVOD service through Amazon Channels for $4.99 per month. In June the company said it partnered with Maz to expand its offerings via apps for a variety of devices such as iPhones and Rokus.

Founded by Apple and Adobe designers and engineers, Maz initially offered products to help print magazines expand into the digital realm and as a result counts the likes of Forbes, Gannett, Bloomberg, Rodale and Fast Company as customers. However, earlier this year the company launched its TVX platform to help TV channels and other video content companies move into the world of OTT video. Maz’s Ram said Outside TV is the company’s flagship TVX customer and stands as an example of what the company hopes to achieve.

Indeed, Ram said Maz’s TVX business efforts provide it with a unique view into the burgeoning OTT video business. For example, he said that, based on the experiences of its various customers, it appears that Apple users are typically the most willing to spend money on content. “Apple seems to still win the award for most purchasing power,” Ram said.

Meanwhile, “Roku is really impressive from their scale,” he said. “There are a lot of Roku devices out there.”

As for Maz’s business model, Ram said it varies by client but is typically some kind of monthly service fee. “We’re sort of like the WebPress of the OTT world,” Ram said, explaining that WebPress allows virtually anyone to build a website without needing to know computer coding, and Maz’s TVX works to do the same for video services.