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Plex Adds Free, Ad-Supported Web Content From Fandor, GQ, Vanity Fair and Others

Media center specialist Plex is adding more online content to its apps: Plex added a new category for web shows Wednesday, which allows users to stream content from publishers like Fandor, GQ, Vanity Fair, the New Yorker, TWIT, Jukin Media, and others.

Web shows will be available for free to all Plex users, and will be supported by advertising. Plex users will be able to subscribe to shows of their choice, and then track viewing progress across multiple devices, including iOS and Android phones and tablets, game consoles, smart TVs, and streaming sticks.

The launch of web shows comes just days after Plex announced that it will discontinue its existing plugin architecture in the near future. Plugins could be used to import web content from a variety of sources into Plex, but without many of the features that this new, native integration offers.

For instance, Plex’s new web show integration includes viewing recommendations based on online content users have consumed via the app, be it other web shows, podcast episodes, or news stories. The app is also surfacing shows and episodes currently popular with other Plex users, as well as specific show categories a user may be interested in, whether it is computer and electronics or arts and entertainment.

Web shows is just the latest content category recently added by Plex. Originally built as a solution for consumers with large local media collections, Plex has added broadcast TV, podcasts, and news programming to its app over the last two years.

With these additions, Plex is also looking to become more appealing to a wider audience of consumers. Plex still requires users to run dedicated server software on a PC or network-attached storage drive to stream their local media collections. However, podcasts, news programming, and now web shows are all available to anyone who doesn’t run their own server as well.

The company is characterizing web shows as a beta launch, but is bringing it to Plex apps across all platforms and devices. A spokesperson cautioned that it may take a few days for the feature to become available on some devices.

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