Ad-supported video service provider Plex has cashed in on a round of funding and raised $50 million from Toronto’s Intercap. $15 million is set to be invested immediately and the rest will be used to buy shares. This comes after Plex announced the demand for ad-supported video increased fivefold in just 12 months. The investment has already been accounted for within the company’s growth over the next year with its TV guide set to be redesigned and the improvement of the functionality of its livestreaming aspects. But what does the success of Plex tell us about digital entertainment?
The Impact of Streaming
Plex provides customers with podcasts, news, streamed programming, music, and even video games. One of the benefits of Plex and their business model has been to cast the net wide. They aim to be a catch-all service for users’ media needs. The reason behind their success is arguably down to the landscape that is rife for streamed, digital forms of media. This can be seen across the board.
Streaming for TV and film has completely reshaped the industries and how they are targeted at consumers. Most linear programming is adapting to streaming platforms and allowing viewers to binge-watch content rather than wait weekly. In the UK, so many people streamed RuPaul’s Drag Race UK on the BBC iPlayer that the national media company decided to bring back the BBC3 channel it axed in 2016.
Elsewhere, the online casino industry is another digital-only industry that is continuing to thrive amid consumer demand and tech development. As the options for online casino games at Casushi show, there are traditional slots mixed in with live casino variants of roulette and blackjack. The former incorporate animation and video technology, while the latter takes advantage of livestreaming to offer players an immersive experience. This shows the power of these aspects of the industry.
Podcasts have become huge, growing astronomically in the past few years alone. Hosting these podcasts has never been easier and the global nature of them means that niche subjects are finding followers. Plus, ad money is being piled into them, making the industry more lucrative which also drives growth, according to Forbes.
The ad aspects of Plex also indicate how content might be funded in the future. Rather than paying for the subscription service, companies may revert to an ad model. People are already complaining that to subscribe to everything they subscribe to, they are spending more than they might otherwise. To cull some of these subscription services, ad models may be seen as preferable. YouTube, for instance, maintained the ad model of its service while also adding a monthly premium subscription feature.
The success of Plex helps indicate what the entertainment industry is facing, especially in a digital space. It follows the success that TV, film, and other forms of online entertainment have already experienced. The ad model gives a hint towards the future and suggests that we may move away from having so many monthly outgoings.