Future Today, a provider of ad-supported streaming channels, has set a distribution deal with Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Flex platforms.
Comcast’s platforms will now feature Fawsome.tv and HappyKids.tv, two of Future Today’s ad-supported channels, as well as Future Today partner FilmRise. The deal should help expand Future Today’s AVOD user base, which the company said is now at more than 6.5 million monthly active users, up more than 500% growth since 2017.
Future Today has been working in the AVOD space for nearly a decade. The company launched its first channel on Roku back in 2011 and had a presence on long-gone devices like Boxee. The company has also had a long working relationship with Comcast; Future Today provided content for Watchable – which Comcast put the breaks on in 2017 – and helped with testing and finetuning for the service.
Still, Future Today often doesn’t pop up in the big AVOD conversations alongside Roku, Xumo, Pluto TV and others. However, the company has been benefitting from recent increased interest in ad-supported streaming among consumers and the growth it inevitably brings.
“We’ve been doing this awhile. I like to think we’ve helped evangelize and grow the space in our own small way,” said Vikrant Mathur, co-founder of Future Today.
Comcast is the first MVPD distribution partner for Future Today but the company is in conversation with a few others, and also talking with OEMs and other partners.
“Everybody’s looking at how they can reduce friction between content and consumers and provide more value,” Mathur said.
Future Today wants to vastly expand its distribution in 2020. Looking at all the options, Mathur said his company has “pretty much exhausted its options” in the device categories since it already has deals in place with Roku, Amazon, Apple and others. He said many smart TV manufacturers like Hisense are building their own linear streaming offers and there are opportunities to participate in those. Future Today also hasn’t launched on PlayStation yet, is working on more distribution deals with MVPDs and virtual MVPDs that want to expand lineups while keeping carriage fees low. Mathur also said that 5G will change video consumption experiences and that more mobile providers will be looking at partnerships to expand the video products and services they can offer to subscribers.
Future Today is working on linear streaming options for its AVOD channels and it has recently launched services for partners including Lego and Oddbods. The company also has its own ad sales team now. In 2020, Mathur said his company will be making investments in programming and finding partners for its own channels and third parties. Future Today just hired David Di Lorenzo, who was formerly president of Kabillion, to handle content acquisition, distribution and monetization for the company’s kids platform business.
If the strategy pays off and Future Today continues to grow its user base and distribution, it should increasingly find itself in the broader AVOD conversation.
“We are the biggest AVOD company that no one has heard of, for now,” Mathur said.