As Apple and Roku reportedly prepare aggregated video platforms similar to Amazon Channels, AT&T could have its own growing opportunity in that space with VRV.
VRV, an SVOD service that aggregates streaming channels and content, is owned by Otter Media, AT&T’s joint venture with Chernin Group. AT&T has long had its sights set on acquiring all of Otter Media and now that its $85 billion Time Warner acquisition is done, AT&T is back in the hunt for the streaming media company.
Otter Media also owns anime streaming service Crunchyroll and Fullscreen, but in VRV AT&T could have an answer to providing a unified platform for multiple SVODs. And if a new Digiday report is accurate, VRV could be looking to add traditional cable networks to its lineup.
It’s unclear what, if any, cable channels VRV would seek to add to its lineup but the service intends to curate its channel partners based on the niche interests that serve its subscriber base. VRV’s channel partners include Korean television series service DramaFever, CuriosityStream, Rooster Teeth, Nerdist, Mubi and Stargate.
Arlen Marmel, general manager for VRV, told FierceVideo last year that VRV is trying to grow from where it began with anime.
“We want to grow logically,” said Marmel, adding that even if there’s a passionate fandom around something like sports, that doesn’t mean it will fit with what VRV is doing. He said that strategy allows VRV to focus on specific niches and make features that superserve its audience.
With the success Amazon Channels has had in attracting channel partners and helping them grow OTT subscriber bases, it’s no wonder AT&T, Apple and Roku would have interest in launching similar initiatives.
In May, Bloomberg reported that Apple is trying to turn its TV app into a hub for subscription services. In June, Variety reported that Roku is working on something very similar for its streaming video platform.
To take full control of VRV and the rest of Otter Media, AT&T could have to spend more than $1 billion, according to Recode. When Otter Media was first announced, AT&T committed to investing $500 million to get the business off the ground.