SVOD Fullscreen ‘really happy’ with DirecTV Now launch, eyes Amazon Channels expansion

Fullscreen offers its content across a number of devices. Image: Fullscreen

SVOD provider Fullscreen said it has enjoyed a significant bump in business due to its association with AT&T’s new DirecTV Now service, although the company didn’t share any specific growth metrics related to the launch. Further, the company’s general manager said Fullscreen is currently evaluating additional distribution avenues including joining Amazon’s Channels program.

“It’s a really high-quality service,” Fullscreen General Manager Martin Keely said of Amazon Channels in an interview with FierceOnlineVideo. “It’s something we’re very interested in.”

Specifically, Keely noted that a number of high-profile programmers are currently participating in Amazon Channels, including Starz, HBO, Cinemax, Showtime and others. Although Keely declined to specifically confirm whether Fullscreen would join Amazon Channels, he did say that there’s “more to come soon on that.”

Amazon first launched its streaming video storefront exactly a year ago under the “Streaming Partners Program” brand. The company has since renamed the offering Amazon Channels. Over the course of the past 12 months, Amazon has added a wide range of participating brands and programmers to the service, including Showtime, Starz, PBS Kids and Acorn TV. In total, the company now counts roughly 80 premium and specialty channels through its Amazon Channels program, and it offers free trials on all subscriptions.

As for AT&T’s November launch of DirecTV Now, Keely said that the company was “really happy with the early returns.”

“We’ve been pleased with both the Fullscreen direct offering that’s been in the market, and we’re really happy so far with what’s happening with AT&T,” he said, though he declined to provide any specific customer numbers or usage metrics related to Fullscreen’s inclusion in AT&T’s launch of its DirecTV Now service.

AT&T launched DirecTV Now in November, offering four programming tiers starting with a $35-a-month bundle of around 60 channels. The service also offers a “sampling” of shows from Fullscreen, with the goal of enticing interested DirecTV Now customers to also sign up for Fullscreen’s full-blown $5.99-per-month SVOD offering. Keely said Fullscreen is working to ink similar try-before-you-buy distribution deals with other, unnamed streaming providers.

“We think that’s probably the type of thing that we’ll continue to do,” he said of such distribution arrangements. “It’s an introduction to what the service is about.”

Fullscreen got its start as a YouTube multichannel network but was acquired by the AT&T-Chernin Group joint venture Otter Media in 2014. In April, Fullscreen launched its SVOD service with around 1,000 hours of content including both original series and licensed series like "Dawson’s Creek." Fullscreen targets millennials and younger online video viewers with content featuring and promoted by popular social media personalities.

“Right now mobile is the most important to us in terms of consumption,” Keely said, though he declined to provide any Fullscreen customer usage statistics beyond the fact that the average Fullscreen customer spends more than 50 minutes a day interacting with the service. “We are pleasantly surprised with the amount of activity on the service.”

Keely explained that Fullscreen initially built its service for mobile phones and is now expanding to other devices, including those in the home like the Apple TV. “We want to be in the living room,” he said, noting the company will target additional popular streaming devices for living room TV viewing, though he declined to provide specific launch plans.

At the same time, though, Keely said Fullscreen will also continue to refine its mobile apps for iPhones and Android devices. Specifically, he pointed to features on the company’s mobile service that let customers easily share Fullscreen content with friends and family, and to filter content by the amount of time they have to watch it. However, he acknowledged that Fullscreen’s application development and support budget will likely expand as the company builds different versions of its offering to take advantage of the different types of devices its customers use. “We can’t be flatfooted,” he noted.

Article updated Dec. 28 to correct information about Amazon Channels.