Popular YouTube series like Fred and The Annoying Orange have for the most part been stuck on the web and limited to being watched through web browsers. But thanks to Flingo, those series and others managed by Collective Digital Studios will soon find their way onto viewers’ connected TV sets, with their own branded line of TV apps.
With the partnership, the companies will create top-level TV apps for the Collective’s online clients on a number of connected TV platforms. The deal will put popular YouTube series like The Annoying Orange, Fred, iJustine and FreddieW on connected TVs and other devices from Samsung, LG, Vizio, Insignia, Western Digital, Popbox and Google’s Android Market for TV. Altogether, their content will soon be available on more than 7.2 million connected TV screens.
Being a “top-level” app means that those shows won’t be stuck under the umbrella of another distributor like Blip.tv or YouTube, but will have branded experiences of their own available in TV app stores right alongside channels like Netflix and Hulu Plus. For series that until now have mainly been viewed in a web browser, the introduction of these apps is a big win for viewers who can now watch that content from the comfort of their living rooms, and is a huge validation for web original content.
“We’re looking to make our content and channel creators available everywhere and as ubiquitous as possible,” The Collective founder and CEO Michael Green told me in a phone interview. “Sitting next to Netflix is where we want to be.”
Not only will the introduction of top-level TV apps provide greater potential reach for The Collective Digital Studios content, but it will also provide greater monetization opportunities. Episodes of shows will run together as a linear playlist, which will make the experience more like watching regular TV. Rather than having to search for new content after every video, viewers will be able to watch multiple videos in a row.
With pre- and post-rolls running between the videos, that could open up a whole lot of new inventory, particularly if viewers are watching in a TV-like “lean back” position. According to Flingo founder and CEO Ashwin Navin, that makes the advertising feel more like a “channel break” on traditional TV.
While Flingo is making the apps available in part by having its technology embedded on multiple connected TV platforms, the backend content management is being handled by Blip.tv. Earlier this year, The Collective struck a deal with Blip to help distribute and sell ads against its digital content. Now that partnership is helping The Collective’s creators to get even wider reach on TVs and other devices.