Shout! Factory Launches Free Video Service with Classic TV Shows, Movies

Initial lineup of 1,000 hours of content includes 'Mystery Science Theater 3000,' comedy specials and movies

Mystery Science Theater 3000

Shout! Factory, a multiplatform entertainment company, has launched a free, ad-supported video-streaming service stocked initially with 1,000 hours of TV shows — including episodes of cult classic “Mystery Science Theater 3000” — movies, comedy specials and other programming.

The new service, Shout! Factory TV, has a business model similar to Sony’s Crackle and the free version of Hulu’s service. It’s available on the Web at ShoutFactoryTV.com as well as on Roku set-tops; the company said it plans to expand to additional connected devices soon.

The programming on the Internet-video service is culled from Shout’s library of entertainment licensed from major studios, indie producers and others including Westchester Films, Timeless Media Group and Scream Factory.

Shout president and co-founder Garson Foos said the new service is aimed at diversifying the company’s revenue so that it’s not as reliant on DVD sales of its library.

DVDs are “still a good business for us, but digital growth is undeniable, and erosion of DVD sales is accepted,” he said. “We’ve been succeeding in acquiring digital rights on a lot of content… but the big household-name providers like Netflix and Hulu are not as interested in niche, library content, which is where we focus.”

Content in the initial lineup includes 30-plus episodes of “Mystery Science Theater 3000”; animated comedy series “Home Movies” from Adult Swim; “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show”; “Father Knows Best”; “Dennis the Menace”; “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis”; and “The Ernie Kovacs Show.”

Specials include Steve Martin’s “Comedy Is Not Pretty” and “Steve Martin: Wild and Crazy Guy,” as well as “Mel Brooks: Make a Noise.” Films include 16 titles from Werner Herzog, a selection of Roger Corman movies, the Marx Brothers’ “A Night in Casablanca,” “A Room With a View,” “Hoop Dreams” and Volker Schlondorff’s 1985 “Death of a Salesman,” starring Dustin Hoffman.

“We want to be the deep-fan, cult-audience channel,” Foos said.

Currently, the Shout! Factory TV service offers about 1,000 hours of movies, series and specials. The company expects to add roughly 200 hours per month of new content, while cycling other titles out of rotation. On the ad-sales front, Shout has partnered with Hulu as well as other third-party ad exchanges.

To market Shout! Factory TV, the company plans to target its 300,000 followers on social media and its database of 100,000 email subscribers, and will promote it via its YouTube channels.

The service is powered by New York-based startup Zype, a white-label video-streaming platform provider whose other customers include Konami Digital Entertainment.