In the world of free ad-based streaming services, DistroTV is still battling for attention in a world dominated by the likes of Pluto TV and Tubi despite being around for four years. The service hopes that its library of channels, which skews toward Indian, South Asian and Latin American content, helps it stand apart.
“We are global from the get go,” said Navdeep Saini, co-founder and CEO of DistroScale, the company behind DistroTV, in an interview on Tuesday. “We’re bringing global content from across the world.”
DistroTV, like Pluto, is a platform that houses hundreds of channels featuring from well-known ones like Bloomberg Television to one dedicated to the game show WipeOut. Earlier this month, it signed a deal to add “Kids TV – Sing Along Nursery Rhymes” – featuring characters like Bob the Train – to its lineup.
DistroTV and Pluto are part of a wave of so-called FAST, or free ad-supported streaming TV, channels that are having a moment. With subscription streaming services getting pricier and inflation making everything more expensive, consumers are increasingly turning to FAST networks, which offer their own wealth of content – just with ad breaks.
Saini believes that we’re just at the beginning of the cycle for FAST channel, and that there’s a rich opportunity for growth.
“It’s a significantly bigger ecosystem than the subscription space,” Saini said.
Saini believes DistroTV will be able to attract more channels because the parent company, DistroScale, also includes a business that helps other companies create channels on its platform. For example, DistroScale worked with Studio17, the parent company of the studio that makes Kids TV content, to create the channel for DistroTV.
But the key differentiator is in that overseas content. Saini believes DistroTV can grow its audiences everywhere, both attracting viewers in North America, such as first-generation immigrants who still desire Indian programming here as well as in those home countries like India, where it has a distribution partner with Indian streaming service MX Player.
He estimates that 8 to 10 million people in North America watch Indian content. But it’s currently difficult to get access, either through pricey add-ons to cable bundles or illegal pirated IPTV boxes. With crackdowns happening on IPTV services, it’s easier to watch a free streaming option, which is what DistroTV offers.
By the end of the year, DistroTV will have 100 channels out of India, he said. . News, music and entertainment.
While broadcast TV, which featured just a handful of channels, expanded to more than 100 cable channels, FAST networks each have the opportunity to offer thousands of channels, each dedicated to their own interests, whether it’s a famous Indian show or even Wipeout.
“It’s catering to communities of users,” Saini said. “That to me is what FAST enables.”
Even if it caters to niches, Saini said the potential is for FAST to overtake traditional TV and beyond. His goal is to make sure DistroTV is in the middle of that growth.
“People will have their go-to services,” he said. “We want to be one of those go-to services that a user has.”