Samsung TV Plus, the app with hundreds of free channels, could eventually make its way to other, non-Samsung TVs. That’s according to media tech reporter Janko Roettgers, writing in his Low pass newsletter that Samsung is in talks to bring its streaming app to TCL TVs.
Introduced in 2015, Samsung TV Plus is a free ad-supported streaming service (FAST) that comes pre-installed on newer Samsung TVs. The service gives viewers a way to browse a collection of channels, just like you would with a traditional TV service.
Samsung TV Plus has some pretty strong content for a free app, with Samsung adding popular shows like Top gear, Law & Order Special Victims Unit, NCISand Fire in Chicago last August. It also offers a range of local and national news channels, along with Samsung-made channels such as Ride or Drive and The Movie Hub. TV Plus currently has about 1,600 channels across 24 different countries, along with 220 channels in the US.
It sounds like Samsung wants to turn its TV Plus service into a free-floating app
While the company has floated the idea of licensing individual channels to other TV makers, a source tells Roettgers that these talks “appear to have come to nothing”. That’s why Samsung has switched to offering the full TV Plus app to third-party manufacturers instead. Over the years, Samsung has expanded TV Plus’ reach, making the service available on Galaxy devices, the web, and even on select Family Hub fridge models.
Other TV manufacturers, including TCL, LG, and Vizio, have their own free streaming apps, which also compete with services not tied to specific TVs, including Paramount’s Pluto TV, NBC’s Peacock, Fox’s Tubi, Roku, and Amazon Freevee. It looks like Samsung is looking to turn its TV Plus service into a free-floating app as well, but it’s unclear if other manufacturers would want the app on their TVs – or if the app would even be successful.
As Roettgers points out, “the success of FAST services is closely tied to the level of promotion they receive at the platform level,” such as its inclusion in the TV interface or as a button on the remote control. The edge contacted Samsung with a request for comment, but did not immediately hear back.
In August, Samsung said TV Plus saw 100 percent growth in viewership over the past year and viewers streamed 3 billion hours worldwide. Meanwhile a report of deadline attests to the growth of the FAST market as a whole, as data obtained by the S&P Market Intelligence outlet indicates that the US FAST market was expected to generate about $4 billion in revenue last year and nearly $4 billion by 2026 could amount to 9 billion.
While I don’t own a Samsung TV myself, I must say I enjoy the variety of free content that I can browse LG channels. For me, it’s a lot less daunting to flip through channels and ultimately decide what I want to watch, rather than having to flip through the hundreds of shows in front of me on Netflix or Hulu.