Video-streaming competitors look to free services to take on Netflix

CANNES – Video streaming upstarts are looking to a different model to take on industry leader Netflix: free-to-viewer services that come with ads.

While Disney, HBO and Apple are launching competing services along the same subscription model as Netflix, others such as Tubi, Roku, Pluto and Rakuten are testing viewers tolerance for ads in video on demand services.

California-based Tubi and Japan’s Rakuten both announced plans to push into Europe this week at the MIPCOM in Cannes, France, the world’s biggest television content market.

Tubi plans to launch a Tubi Kids service next week, which will become available in Britain in 2020, and include series like Strawberry Shortcake, Paddington Bear and The Wiggles.

Tubi boasts that its main service in the United States with 15,000 films and television shows has a bigger library than Netflix and touts itself as a place for greater variety rather than exclusive content.

“Only about one per cent of shows make people sign up for a subscription… and we are not going to launch the next Game of Thrones,” Tubi’s chief executive Farhad Massoudi told AFP.

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