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Tubi TV Free Internet Video Service Launches with 20,000 Shows and Movies (Most of Which You’ve Never Heard Of)

AdRise, a content distribution and advertising startup, is launching Tubi TV, a free, ad-supported video-on-demand service stocked with 20,000 licensed TV shows and movies.

The company is positioning Tubi TV as a free service that complements subscription VOD services like Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime Instant Video, and with a bigger selection than other ad-supported services like Sony Pictures Television’s Crackle. But you get what you pay for — and there may not be a lot on the service that lure massive numbers of consumers, even though it’s free.

Most of Tubi TV’s library, from some 120 partners, will be unfamiliar to U.S. audiences. The content spans multiple genres, including anime, Asian TV shows and movies, international films, cartoons and kids’ programming, comedy, cooking, documentaries, music, nature, news, reality TV and sci-fi.

The firm touts the lineup as providing the world’s largest selection of free streaming TV and film content. “If you look at our library, we’re by far larger than anybody else,” adRise CEO and founder Farhad Massoudi said. “And the quality of the content is far better.”

Tubi TV content partners include Starz Digital Media, Cinedigm, Shine International, Jim Henson Co., Hasbro Studios, Film Movement, ITV, Endemol, Zodiak Rights, DRG, All3Media, Kino Lorber, Korean TV network MBC and Korean studio CJ Entertainment. In addition, Tubi TV has lined up several digital content partners, which include Newslook, AP, Reuters, anime distributor Funimation, Havoc Television, ACC Digital Network, Viki, Anyclip.com and Wochit.

“We’ve tried to stay away from bottom-feeding here,” said Thomas Ahn Hicks, adRise’s head of business development strategy. “We are not carrying primetime content from (U.S.) broadcast or cable networks… but what we are really trying to do is drive a large breadth of content on as many verticals as possible. No one has really done that yet.”

As for what’s actually on Tubi TV, the company cites TV shows including “The Man Show,” “Red Shoe Diaries,” “The Cosby Show,” “My Favorite Martian,” and “I Spy”; British series including “Whose Line is it Anyway,” “Lip Service,” “Queer as Folk,” “Father Ted” and “Spaced”; Nordic noir series “Sandhamn Murders.” In addition, the kids’ lineup includes content from Jim Henson Co. and Hasbro Studios.

Arthouse films available on Tubi TV include Adrien Brody-starrer “Love The Hard Way,” “Gasland,” “The Weather Underground,” “Dogtooth,” “Metropolis,” “XXY” and “A Screaming Man.”

AdRise execs point out that Netflix’s streaming service started out without many big-name titles, adding that Tubi TV’s content will continue to expand. “If you run out of the things to watch on your Netflix subscription, you want to go beyond that to find something else to watch,” Massoudi said. “The idea is to market Tubi TV as an alternative to subscription services.”

Tubi TV’s ad-supported service will be available initially only in the U.S., and only on three devices: the recently launched Amazon Fire TV set-top, as well as Roku and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 videogame system. AdRise plans to launch the service in the next two months on the web as well as on Android devices, Google’s Chromecast, Apple iPhones and iPads, Kindle Fire, Samsung and Sony televisions, TiVo DVRs, and WD TV.

AdRise, founded in 2010, has raised total of $4 million from Foundation Capital and other investors including: Mark Amin, former vice chairman of Lionsgate; Zod Nazen, former Yahoo CTO; Bobby Yazdani, founder of Saba Software; and Streamlined Ventures. The San Francisco-based company has 12 employees.

Media companies that adRise counts as clients include Discovery Communications, ITV and Starz Digital Media, for which the startup manages VOD applications.

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