Time Inc.-Backed Startup Xumo Adds 10 Channels to OTT Service

Over-the-top video platform startup Xumo — vying to compete with the likes of Roku and Apple TV as a conduit for premium connected-TV programming — has added 10 new channel partners will expand its footprint to include smart TVs from Funai Electric Co.

Xumo became part of the Time Inc. family in February, when Time Inc. announced the acquisition of Viant, which owns Xumo in a joint venture with Panasonic. Time Inc. execs have talked about launching a new OTT entertainment network, and the company is expected to provide more details on those plans at its Digital Content NewFronts presentation May 5.

Xumo has reached deals to add channels from Reuters; PBS Digital Studios; Mashable; Network A; The Onion and A.V. Club; Bonnier’s Field & Stream, Saveur and Cycle World; and indie films from Fandor.

Those join other channels on Xumo’s service, including BuzzFeed, Condé Nast’s Vanity Fair, Vogue, Glamour, Bon Appetit, GQ and Wired, PopSugar, Mitú Network, Time Inc.’s Time, Golf, Sports Illustrated, Cooking Light and Southern Living, Jukin Media’s FailArmy, Mode Media, Wall Street Journal, AOL News, Bloomberg Politics, Newsy, The Young Turks and Machinima.

Xumo’s the service will be available on around 60% of smart TVs shipped in the U.S., via pacts with LG Electronics, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Vizio and now Funai Electric, which manufactures and sells Sanyo, Magnavox and Philips branded products in North America, according to CEO Colin Petrie-Norris. The OTT platform’s reach is approaching 20 million devices in the U.S., he said, and the company plans to launch apps for iOS and Android smartphones.

Unlike OTT devices, Xumo is embedded into the TV so consumers don’t have to buy a separate box or dongle (although Roku has a similar smart TV partnership strategy). Perhaps more important, according to Petrie-Norris, content partners don’t need to build a platform-specific app for Xumo. That, along with Xumo’s promotional and audience ad-targeting abilities, makes it “a compelling partner for digital and video-first publishers,” he said.

Xumo is powering LG Electronics’ new Channel Plus feature, which will provide free access to Xumo’s roster of Internet and broadcast channels on 2016 LG Smart TVs with webOS in the U.S. starting this summer. The Xumo service provides content recommendations, curated programs and dynamic ad insertion capabilities.

Xumo, founded in 2011, is based in Irvine, Calif., at Viant’s Southern California headquarters.

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