For all the attention the Streaming Wars get — and most of that is misguided — free TV is still huge in a world of Netflix and Disney+. And so it’s of little surprise to see Google TV today announcing the addition of Tubi, Plex, and Haystack News to its Live tab, giving what it says are more than 800 channels of free TV, all in one place.
They join Pluto TV, which already was integrated, as well as news channels from NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox.
“The new TV guide brings all your new free TV channels together and organizes them for easier and faster browsing,” writes Google’s Nick Staubach. “Whether you’re in the mood for true crime, classic TV reruns or your favorite cooking show, we’ve got you covered. Plus, you can save your ‘Favorites’ to the top of your guide for quick and easy access next time.”
This kind of platform-level integration of free channels (even across multiple providers) isn’t exactly new. It’s basically what you get with The Roku Channel on Roku devices, or on the Live tab on Amazon Fire TV. The inclusion of Tubi and Pluto means that two of the major broadcasters (Fox and Paramount, respectively) have a foothold in Google’s hardware and that many more eyeballs will see their advertising.
And the space is huge. The aforementioned services are in the “FAST” space — that’s an industry acronym that means Free ad-supported streaming TV. Paramount’s Pluto TV was closing in on 89 million monthly active users at the end of 2022. Fox’s Tubi is above 64 million.
And that’s really what all this is about. Google TV users get even more channels and shows and movies at the forefront, and advertising dollars continue to change hands in a world in which subscription-based services worry more about churn than anything else.
- The Digital Trends guide to FAST streaming services
- Apple TV has quietly been on board the FAST train all this time
- Amazon Fire TV Channels brings even more free TV to the platform
- Sling TV increases prices for everyone as it adds more subscribers
- Chromecast with Google TV makes the leap to Android 12