As the ad-supported streaming video market heats up, free video streaming services such as Pluto TV, Xumo and Tubi are bulking up on licensed movies, TV shows and digital video programming.

The key hits:

  • Free video streaming services such as Pluto TV and Xumo are licensing more movies and TV shows in an effort to draw more users.
  • Most often, these titles are available on a non-exclusive basis, which makes sense considering the fact that these are free products.
  • Deal structures can vary: Most often, the video services send an ad revenue share back to programming partners.
  • However, in some instances, Pluto TV and Xumo are willing to pay a fixed licensing fee or offer minimum guarantees — but those are typically reserved for studios rather than digital publishers.
  • One interesting outlier is Tubi, which says it will spend more than $100 million to acquire content this year, eliciting skepticism among industry observers on how the service will be able to fund such a budget.

Earlier this week, Viacom-owned Pluto TV, which offers more than 100 channels of linear-programming streaming channels, announced a deal with BBC Studios to license more than 1,000 episodes of TV shows including classic “Doctor Who” episodes, “Antiques Roadshow” and “Robin Hood.” Rival free video streaming service Tubi has also been bulking up on its programming, recently adding existing fare such as past seasons of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette,” and movies such as “Donnie Darko” and “The Virgin Suicides.” Since last fall, Xumo has also made a bigger push into adding more movies into its programming lineup.

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