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Smithsonian Networks Launches New Subscription VOD Service, Folding in Smithsonian Earth

Smithsonian Networks has expanded its push to reach cord-cutters with the launch of Smithsonian Channel Plus, promising subscribers 1,000-plus hours of streaming nonfiction programming for $5 per month.

The new subscription VOD service incorporates and supersedes Smithsonian Earth, the company’s $3.99-monthly SVOD service that launched three years ago, which had been geared around nature and wildlife.

Smithsonian Channel Plus is a bigger play: It includes the same programming that has previously aired on the linear cable TV channel, as well as hundreds of hours of programming previously available on Smithsonian Earth. According to the company, existing Smithsonian Earth subscribers can access the new SVOD service for no extra charge.

For Smithsonian Networks, which is a joint venture between CBS’s Showtime Networks and the Smithsonian Institution, it’s a move to boost revenue from over-the-top crowd — people who have canceled pay-TV service. Smithsonian Channel is currently distributed through partners including DirecTV, Dish Network, Charter Spectrum, Verizon FiOS, Altice USA, Cox, YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue and Hulu With Live TV.

“Our strategy is to develop and distribute programming that will be made available across all of our platforms for the benefit of audiences to be able to consume in the way they most prefer and enjoy,” said Joseph Giraldi, Smithsonian Networks EVP of marketing, digital media and product strategy.

Smithsonian Channel Plus spans genres including history, air and space, nature and wildlife, science, travel, and pop culture, with full seasons of series including “Aerial America,” “America in Color,” “Million Dollar American Princesses,” “The Lost Tapes” and “Air Disasters.” Smithsonian Channel’s specials include “The Coronation,” “The Mountain Lion and Me,” “Earth from Outer Space” and “Titanoboa: Monster Snake.” The company said the SVOD service will be refreshed weekly with content from the Smithsonian Channel library.

The service also offers select content in 4K Ultra HD format, including programming from Smithsonian Earth.

Smithsonian Channel Plus, available only in the U.S., carries no advertising and is priced at $4.99 per month. Currently, it’s available through the Smithsonian Channel app on Apple, Amazon, Roku players and TVs, and Android devices, as well as online at watch.smithsonianchannel.com. Amazon Prime members will be able to subscribe to Smithsonian Channel Plus through Prime Video Channels by the end of 2018.

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