Warner Bros. Discovery’s plan to distribute Westworld and other key shows via FAST channels has materialized.
Deals have been struck with Roku and Tubi to launch branded channels this year, bringing more than 2,000 hours of programs in total to each service.
Deadline had reported WBD was likely to sell Westworld and other key titles to FAST (Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV) channel providers in December, when it was pulled from HBO Max. That came amid a financial review of the HBO portfolio. Other shows, including The Nevers, Raised By Wolves and F-Boy Island were pulled at the same time, as WBD CEO David Zaslav eyed new ways to monetize his catalog. Tubi noted The Nevers is included in its agreement.
Following the deals, Westworld, The Bachelor, Cake Boss, Say Yes to the Dress and F-Boy Island will all join The Roku Channel in the spring through Warner Bros-branded channels, while Fox Corp-owned Tubi will launch 14 WB-branded channels and 225 titles on its platform. Westworld, Raised By Wolves and F-Boy Island are among them.
Sitting alongside the Roku channels will be hundreds of TV series and movies from the likes of HBO, HBO Max, Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Warner Bros. Pictures and Warner Bros. Television.
Tubi’s deal includes 11 FAST channels focused on genres including lifestyle, homes, classic movies, education, mysteries and weddings and several others. New unscripted titles linear channel New titles and AVOD services will Cake Boss, My Cat From Hell, Breaking Amish and Caribbean Life.
Both agreements are for the same sets of content and are being described by sources as “co-exclusive.”
WBD and Roku called their deal “groundbreaking.” However, while Roku and Tubi are among the biggest players in FAST, the free-streaming universe is vast and therefore the agreements could somewhat limit the distribution of the shows.
Roku Vice President of Programming Rob Holmes, who is leaving the company following David Eilenberg’s promotion to content chief, said: “As FAST continues to explode in popularity amongst cord-cutters, we’re seeing content players increasingly shift their focus towards capturing this audience, by bringing some of their best stuff to FAST. The rapid expansion of premium content on FAST is a win for both the viewer and content owner, as well as advertisers looking to reach these audiences through well-known programming.”
Tubi Chief Content Officer Adam Lewinson said the “WB-branded FAST channels and on-demand offering will speak to each of Tubi’s distinct audience communities.”
David Decker, President of Content Sales for Warner Bros. Discovery, said Roku and Tubi’s “innovative platforms provide us with new ways to bring our valuable content to fans across the country.”
Roku has been building out its FAST offer over the past year, adding shows from the likes of AMC Networks and NBCUniversal. Offering 80,000 free movies and programs, it has 70 million global accounts. Tubi has a library of over 48,000 movies and TV shows in total.
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