NAB Show: FreeCast targets cord-cutters with over-the-air plus streaming aggregation

FreeCast has used the NAB Show to launch its FreeCast Home system. This whole-home streaming solution will bring over-the-air broadcast television channels into the FreeCast digital guide, alongside web-delivered streaming channels, free and pay-per-view shows and movies on-demand.

FreeCast is launching FreeCast Home

William Mobley

The network-connected device will also include an ATSC 3.0 tuner to deliver advanced broadcast services throughout the home and local DVR storage that is expandable via USB.

FreeCast Home will allow users to watch their live local news, weather, and sports from a single channel guide that also includes over 700 free streaming channels. Customers will be able to watch their area’s affiliate ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS, and Univision stations.

Speaking at a press launch just ahead of the show starting, CEO Bill Mobley said the product represented “the merger of OTA and OTT”.

Mobley admitted that over-the-air antennas plus apps and streaming sticks could provide all channels and services, but said the added convenience of putting all services in one place and distributing them throughout the home without the need for additional devices would differentiate the FreeCast product.

“I talk about consumers but more importantly the…studios that are replicating costs trying to be digital companies,” he said.

Mobley said consumers are “bitching, bailing and bouncing”, which brings a huge cost to content providers. By aggregating all services at a single point, FreeCast was taking on the role of vMVPDs but without the associated cost of subscribing to these services, he said.

He said the device would also protect “the integrity of local businesses” delivering services.

He said FreeCast currently had integration with “about 45%” of content providers but needed to integrate the remaining 55%.

Managed properties segment

FreeCast Home will retail to consumers for a one-time charge of US$200, with recurring revenues generated by ads and commission revenue. A low-cost – or free – server version of the system will be commercially available to multi-dwelling properties and the hospitality industry.

Mobley said that FreeCast currently had agreements in principle with groups representing “about 14% of the doors in America” built up over the last year and a half.

He said that the market had largely ignored the managed properties segment of the market – condominiums, the hospitality sector, managed housing developments, campuses and so on.

In its press release the company said it already has agreements with developers of planned communities, condominiums, apartments, property management companies, college campuses, hotels, healthcare providers, vacation rental units and affordable housing providers.

Recurring revenues to FreeCast will come principally via its MediaPay virtual credit card, which is used to process transactions, Mobley said.

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