With the surge of TV viewing -- on traditional TV and streaming TV platforms -- TV set maker Vizio announced it has added 30 new free TV channels to its Smartcast smart TV system.
Those channels include news and information apps -- USA Today and CBC News and sports information/action channels -- USA Today Sportswire and the Fubo Sports Network and celebrity/entertainment news -- TMZ and Hollywire.
They will be part of the Vizio SmartCast Home area, which complements another free area, the Vizio WatchFree service -- which is “powered by Pluto” the company says. That service features more than 150 free streaming TV channels of news, movies, sports and more.
Vizio says all its SmartCast viewing grew 57% over the last three weeks of March due to more at-home viewing from stay-at-home viewers. Also, Vizio’s free, ad-supported apps and streaming TV services saw a 59% increase over the same period.
SmartCast on-screen apps includes big popular subscription TV services such as Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube TV, NBC, CBS All Access, as well as support for Apple AirPlay 2 and Chromecast.
In December 2019, Vizio started Vizio Ads, selling TV ads on publishers' video inventory through its SmartCast platform. Vizio’s platform is on about 13 million TV sets.
Vizio negotiates advertising revenue-share deals with publishers/apps that distribute content on its SmartCast platform. This follows other similarly structured deals with TV and/or set-top-box device makers such as Samsung, Roku, and Amazon.
Separately, Vizio also wholly owns an automatic content recognition (ACR) technology service company -- Inscape. The company says it is the largest single source of opt-in smart TV viewing data available to license.