Plex is launching its own ad-supported video service, starting with content from Warner Bros. TV – gpgmail


Streaming media company Plex this morning announced it will begin to offer ad-supported video, including movies and TV, by way of a new content agreement with Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. Though Plex has more recently expanded into new areas beyond organizing home media — including streaming TV and cloud DVRs, streaming music by way of a TIDAL partnership, podcasts, news and more — this new deal represents the first time that Plex has ever offered ad-supported content on its service that will benefit its bottom line.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, gpgmail broke the news that Plex was preparing to move into the ad-supported movies market.

The company at the time said it was in discussions with various rights holders and content providers, including premium networks, to bring more streaming video to its platform. Its model would be similar to Roku’s The Roku Channel, in that it would start with free, ad-supported movies and TV, then add more content, which may at some point include subscriptions.

Plex was unable to say how many movies and TV shows would be coming to Plex users by way of its licensing agreement, nor could it offer a sampling of titles due to the nature of its contract with Warner Bros. But it will have more to share on this front as the offering gets closer to launch, later this year.

The company also said it will use SpotX for programmatic ads, with more ad sales capabilities to roll out in the future. The revenue from the ad sales will be on top of what Plex already makes from its premium feature set, by way of its Plex Pass subscriptions.

Also still in the works is how, exactly, the free movies and TV will be surfaced in the Plex user interface.

Today, Plex has a left-hand side menu navigation where “online content” can be found, like TIDAL, news, podcasts, and web shows. This would be a likely destination to add the new AVOD (ad-supported video on demand) collection, but Plex may decide to redesign parts of its interface instead.

The movies and TV shows will be available to the millions of Plex users in the U.S., not just subscribers. But its larger AVOD service, which will eventually be expanded, will be global in nature.

Today, Plex has grown to around 20 million users, but it doesn’t say how many are paying customers. (As Plex told us earlier, its investors don’t want anyone to be able to “back into its revenue numbers,” but it is profitable.)

The company’s longer-term vision is to become even more of a one-stop shop for all your media – whether that’s content you own, buy or stream.

“Plex has always been about solving new media challenges, and our mission is to tame the growing chaos in the media landscape,” said Keith Valory, CEO of Plex, in a statement about the launch. “Licensing these movies from Warner Bros. enables us to offer more types of third-party content than any other platform and bring it all together in one beautiful solution. Premium ad-supported movies and shows deserve first-class treatment alongside other content that consumers enjoy daily, as opposed to being orphaned in yet another stand-alone app.”


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Plex Announces New Desktop App, Leaves HTPCs Behind


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The media managing and streaming service Plex has rolled out a new app today, and it might mean some painful adjustments for long-time users. Starting today, there’s a new Plex desktop app for both Windows and macOS — this will replace the existing Plex Media Player client. That marks the end of old-fashioned HTPC support for Plex. 

For the uninitiated, Plex is a media player platform that organizes video, music, photos, and other media. You can link Plex to files stored on computers, servers, NAS boxes, and even mobile devices. Plex streams all that media on-demand, even transcoding it on the fly as necessary. Technically, you’re only supposed to be using it for media that you own and have backed up, which is already a gray area. However, it’s also popular with the torrent crowd. 

The new Plex desktop app supports most of Plex’s existing features and improves a few others. As Plex users can tell you, the “Sync” option for offline downloads has been abysmally slow and buggy for a long time. With the new desktop app, that feature gets a makeover as “Downloads.” It’s faster, more reliable, and gives clearer feedback while content is being saved. The interface is also consistent with other Plex clients with one notable exception: TV mode. 

Years back, the most common Plex implementation was to attach a home theater PC (HTPC) to a TV to stream media. With the proliferation of cheap streaming devices like the Chromecast, Apple TV, and Fire TV,SEEAMAZON_ET_135 See Amazon ET commerce almost no one bothers with HTPCs anymore. Thus, Plex is retiring the TV interface with the launch of its new desktop app. This will, no doubt, upset some Plex fans nonetheless. 

What about the old Windows app? The version of Plex in the Windows Store will be retired, but that’s no great loss. According to Plex, developing a Windows Store client made sense in the past as Windows Phone existed in some capacity. Today, developing for the Metro/Modern UI platform is not a good use of resources, Plex says. 

If you don’t want to give up the classic Plex Media Player client, it’ll be updated through January 30, 2020. You can keep using it, but it’ll probably break before long without updates. The new Plex desktop apps are available for free. Some features like mobile sync, live TV, and more are locked behind the “Plex Pass” premium subscription.

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Media software Plex launches a new desktop app for Mac and Windows – gpgmail


Plex today is launching a new desktop application for Mac and Windows, with the goal of eventually replacing Plex Media Player as the company’s only desktop solution. The app’s arrival also signals a change in direction for the company, which will also now remove its existing Windows Store application and end support for the traditional home theater PC setup — the latter which involves a desktop computer connected to a TV or home theater.

The company explains this decision was made after examining how people were using Plex today, and found that most would have an equal or even better experience with a streaming device and its new players.

“It marks the end of an era for us, and we’d be lying if we said it wasn’t a little bittersweet,” the company wrote in a blog post about the change.

Home theater PC-style configurations are today a bit of a holdover from an earlier era where there were fewer resources to stream personal media from your PC to your TV. Today, however, Plex’s apps for streaming devices are fairly capable, and a heck of a lot simpler to set up and use by mainstream consumers.

The company also noted that the new Apple TV and Android players support nearly all the same formats and that Plex’s app for streaming devices has come a long way in recent years.

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“Modern streaming devices don’t need as much care and feeding as desktop computers. They don’t need to sleep (much), they use a tiny amount of electricity…and they don’t require nearly as much effort to get up and running. They have remotes that work wonderfully out of the box (no more fiddly custom key mappings!) In short, they’re designed for the environment in which you’re using them, and it shows,” the company explained, in hopes of fending off any backlash.

Meanwhile, the new Plex desktop app includes all the capabilities of Plex Media Player along with support for offline access. Previously called “Sync,” this feature has been renamed to “Downloads,” and lets you take your media with you. Similar support for offline media will come to Plex’s mobile apps, too, at a later date, the company said.

To use the Downloads feature, you’ll need a Plex Pass subscription. But otherwise, the new desktop app is free.

Though the desktop app is meant to replace Plex Media Player, the company says it will continue to update the software until January 2020, to allow time for everyone to make the transition.

Plex’s overall business has been changing, in recent years, to become more than just a home media organizer. Today, Plex is a DIY streaming solution that allows users to watch not just their own media across platforms, but also stream podcasts, news, web series and music from TIDAL, as well as capture and record live TV from a digital antenna.

This change has led to other closures, including Plex’s decision last year to shutter Plugins, Cloud Sync and its “Watch Later” bookmarking feature, in addition to the technically challenging Plex Cloud.

It’s unclear how successful Plex’s changes have been as the company doesn’t disclose its number of paying subscribers. However, last year, Plex said it had 15 million registered users — meaning both free and paid. In January 2019, it upped that number to 20 million and noted it had “millions” of people using Plex on a monthly basis.


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