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Fullscreen Closes Its SVOD Service and Lays Off 25 Staffers
The well-known multichannel network couldn't make a success of its SVOD, even with AT&T's backing. What does this mean for the industry?

Fullscreen Media announced yesterday that it will close its subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service and lay off 25 employees from its content and operations teams. The SVOD was announced in March 2016 as a lower-priced service for teens. The industry has seen several subscription services aim at that market, and this news will have some wondering if the area is already saturated.

Fullscreen CEO and founder George Strompolos posted the email he sent to staff announcing the closing. "We’ve made the difficult decision to shut down the Fullscreen SVOD service in January 2018. We came to the conclusion that funding SVOD?—?a longer-term investment?—?was limiting our ability to invest in our dynamic Creator, Brand, and Rooster Teeth divisions that have more established scale and immediate impact," he wrote.

Fullscreen's parent company is Otter Media, which itself is jointly owned by AT&T and Chernin Group. Fullscreen announced in September it was laying off three percent of its workforce to restructure and focus on creating original programing for the SVOD service. When AT&T launched DirecTV Now in November 2016, the line of packages it offered included Fullscreen's SVOD. New customers could get a year free by signing up for a wireless plan with messaging. Even with a telecommunications giant behind it, Fullscreen apparently couldn't generate enough subscribers to make the numbers work.

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Called Fullscreen, the teen SVOD will offer scripted and unscripted originals, plus plenty of licensed shows, for $4.99 per month.