CES '16: Xumo Announces Content Agreements With LG and Vizio
Xumo is coming out of stealth most, says company CEO Colin Petrie-Norris, and it has some major announcements for CES.
For those who haven't heard of it, Xumo is a content provider for connected devices that specializes in bringing the best of online video to TV viewers. The company was formed four years ago, starting as a partnership between advertising company Viant and TV-maker Panasonic. Since Panasonic is a major investor, Xumo has been on its TVs for years, giving it instant credibility.
Xumo's goal is to not be just another app among thousands in an app store, but to integrate at a high level with the TV's operating system. Days ago, Xumo announced that it will now be available on LG and Vizio connected TVs, as well.
From the company's Westgate hotel suite, Petrie-Norris gives an impressive demonstration of how Xumo integrates with an LG TV. Cable and streaming channels are presented consistently, with the viewer able to flip through all channels in an equal way. There's no need to enter an app interface and select content; Xumo channels are presented along with the standard broadcast and cable options. Xumo pre-buffers the channels on either side of the one being viewed, so viewers don't need to wait for channels to load when flipping around. Streaming channels play automatically thanks to pre-built playlists, and the contents of those playlists are influenced by what's popular. Xumo doesn't have the same level of integration on Vizio sets, but it's easy to call up the app and browse channels since Xumo has a dedicated channel on the Vizio remote.
"I think users are going to be excited about how TV becomes easy and enjoyable and intuitive to discover, because our service is not buried inside an app store," Petrie-Norris says. "It doesn't require a lot of work to find the content that they love."
Xumo's other big CES announcement is about the content on those channels. Now that the app is available in over 10 million homes, the company is finding it easier to sign content deals. It announced that it will now feature video from Condé Nast Entertainment, Time, Hearst, and Bonnier. It will even offer exclusives from CNE: five episodes of GQ's The Grind and three episodes of New Year, New You, from Glamour. Xumo already has content partnerships in place with several multi-channel networks (MCNs) and popular video sites like BuzzFeed and Vice.
"We are excited to announce a partnership with a brand like Condé Nast who see us as a vehicle to having a TV channel across the United States. With close to 60 content partners like them, our model is resonating well with the content industry," Petrie-Norris says.
The company makes money from advertising: Content providers can sell their own ads or leave sales to the Xumo team. Xumo doesn't require viewer registration (and wont for the iOS and Android apps it plans to launch in a month), but is able to determine viewer demographics through the use of an online database.
Xumo on an LG TV
The TV maker collected a range of viewing and demographic data from 11 million households for 3 years without authorization, and is paying modest fines.