Founded nearly 10 years ago, Plex began with the mission of trying to streamline the entertainment experience across multiple digital platforms. Its app features live and recorded over-the-air TV, with news and sports, podcasts, web shows, news and more than 60 million streaming music tracks from Tidal, the service part-owned by rapper Jay-Z.
The ad-supported movie and TV component of Plex is expected to launch later this year. No specific titles were included in the launch announcement.
Warner Bros., of course, is a key in-house supplier to parent company WarnerMedia’s forthcoming subscription streaming outlet, HBO Max. Friends and other marquee titles are slated to come off Netflix and will be offered on HBO Max, which is slated to launch next spring.
In addition to Friends, the distributor handles off-network shows like The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men and 2 Broke Girls, plus first-run syndicated series from Telepictures like The Ellen DeGeneres Show and TMZ. Also under the Warner tent are select titles from HBO Independent Productions and the Lorimar Television library as well as both current and library material from Warner Bros.
Free, ad-supported streaming has become a booming sector after years at the margins. YouTube is migrating to AVOD and has lifted its pay wall in a promotion for its original series. In April, NBCUniversal will launch a major ad-supported entry featuring classics like The Office. Earlier this year, Sony rebooted Crackle in a joint venture with Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment and Pluto TV was snapped up by Viacom for $340 million. Tubi TV now has 20 million monthly active users of its free, on-demand service.