Sling TV rolls out free content to non-subscribers, initially on Roku

Last year, Dish-owned streaming service Sling TV launched a free tier to its service designed to attract those with lapsed subscriptions to come back and watch. On Roku devices, former customers were able to tune into over 100 hours of TV shows and movies without a subscription by launching the Sling TV app. Today, the […]

Last year, Dish-owned streaming service Sling TV launched a free tier to its service designed to attract those with lapsed subscriptions to come back and watch. On Roku devices, former customers were able to tune into over 100 hours of TV shows and movies without a subscription by launching the Sling TV app. Today, the service is extending a similar offer to newcomers. On Roku devices, those who have never signed up for the streaming TV service will have the chance to browse and watch free shows, without the need for a subscription.

In other words, this is not a “free trial,” it’s a free – if limited – selection of content.

To access the free tier, newcomers can click “Browse as Guest” in order to then browse and watch from content in the “My TV” section of the app. This section includes TV shows like Shameless, The Big Interview with Dan Rather, Heartland, and others. Users can also browse over 5,000 movies that can be watched if they choose to subscribe.

Sling TV is targeting Roku because it’s one of the most well-adopted media player platforms in the U.S., which makes it a prime target for a user acquisition strategy like this.

Having a functioning app instead of a static landing page may prompt users to subscribe to the base subscription, and it may also prompt sign-ups for Sling TV’s newer à la carte channels.

At the same time last year when the company announced its free tier for lapsed subscribers, it also launched à la carte programming, as a way to differentiate itself from other live TV services. Unlike Hulu with Live TV or YouTube TV. This feature allows Sling TV users to buy access to standalone paid channels, without needing to subscribe to a TV package – like how Amazon Prime Video Channels works.

As a result, Sling TV can today serve as a place to watch paid channels like Showtime, CuriosityStream, NBA League Pass, Docurama, Stingray Karaoke and others.

Newcomers on this free tier can also rent PPV events without a subscription, the company says.

Free programming today is being used a lure to attract customers to various platforms in the streaming video market and beyond. Amazon offers a ton of free video, including originals, to Prime subscribers and just last week launched a new ad-supported streaming service from IMDb. Roku offers free content on The Roku Channel, and Plex recently said it will venture into this area in 2019, as well.

Alongside the launch of the free programming, Sling TV is rolling out an improved search experience which now shows “popular searches,” and a new binge-watching feature.

The latter will prompt users to watch the next episode in an on-demand or recorded series after you’ve completed the current episode, and will auto-play it if no action is taken in 10 seconds.

The new free tier is initially rolling out to Roku users, starting today, but will come to other devices in the future.

The updated Search option is live now on Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku devices. And the binge-watching feature is first coming to Roku devices in the weeks ahead, with support for others also arriving in the future.

 

Freeletics raises $45M for its AI-powered mobile fitness coach

The German startup has raised its first round of venture backing from FitLab, Causeway Media Partners and JAZZ Venture Partners.

One of Europe’s most popular fitness applications is poised to flourish in the U.S. market with the help of several Los Angeles-based investors.

Freeletics, headquartered in Munich, Germany, is today announcing its first round of private capital after bootstrapping since 2013. The $45 million Series A was co-led by FitLab, Causeway Media Partners and JAZZ Venture Partners, with participation from Courtside Ventures, Elysian Park Ventures and ward.ventures. Sports teams including the San Francisco 49ers and the Boston Celtics also invested, though Freeletics founder and chief executive officer Daniel Sobhani declined to comment on any partnerships that may be in the works between the startup and the athletes.

As you might expect from the name, Freeletics operates its mobile fitness coaching app on a freemium model, with tiered pricing beginning at $11.99 for one month or $74.99 for a year-long membership. The app, which offers fitness content and AI-powered training plans tailored to individual users, initially focused on Germany but has since grown in popularity across Europe and in the U.S.

“We want to be there for people who want a long-term athletic lifestyle,” Sobhani told TechCrunch. “There are hundreds of millions of people who would love to make a change to their health and fitness but only a fraction of those actually make it. Helping people at scale to solve such a common problem is a tremendous benefit for the person but also for society.”

Freeletics chief executive officer Daniel Sobhani.

Sobhani says Freeletics now has 31 million users in over 160 countries and will use its first bit of VC backing to grow its American user base — where it’s been growing 100 percent month-over-month. The company also plans to add a Netflix-style training platform, where “unlimited relevant training plans” will be available to paying users, as well as nutritional guidance to help people stay fit. The startup, however, has no plans to expand into hardware.

“Most of the people out there that want to become fitter or healthier are reverting to choices that have been there for decades, like going to the gym or running but without broader context or understanding,” Sobhani said. “Or they are turning to books or very restrictive diets. Tech solutions are so much better because they can adjust to you; they can make sure what you’re doing is effective.”

 

 

 

Freeletics raises $45M for its AI-powered mobile fitness coach

The German startup has raised its first round of venture backing from FitLab, Causeway Media Partners and JAZZ Venture Partners.

One of Europe’s most popular fitness applications is poised to flourish in the U.S. market with the help of several Los Angeles-based investors.

Freeletics, headquartered in Munich, Germany, is today announcing its first round of private capital after bootstrapping since 2013. The $45 million Series A was co-led by FitLab, Causeway Media Partners and JAZZ Venture Partners, with participation from Courtside Ventures, Elysian Park Ventures and ward.ventures. Sports teams including the San Francisco 49ers and the Boston Celtics also invested, though Freeletics founder and chief executive officer Daniel Sobhani declined to comment on any partnerships that may be in the works between the startup and the athletes.

As you might expect from the name, Freeletics operates its mobile fitness coaching app on a freemium model, with tiered pricing beginning at $11.99 for one month or $74.99 for a year-long membership. The app, which offers fitness content and AI-powered training plans tailored to individual users, initially focused on Germany but has since grown in popularity across Europe and in the U.S.

“We want to be there for people who want a long-term athletic lifestyle,” Sobhani told TechCrunch. “There are hundreds of millions of people who would love to make a change to their health and fitness but only a fraction of those actually make it. Helping people at scale to solve such a common problem is a tremendous benefit for the person but also for society.”

Freeletics chief executive officer Daniel Sobhani.

Sobhani says Freeletics now has 31 million users in over 160 countries and will use its first bit of VC backing to grow its American user base — where it’s been growing 100 percent month-over-month. The company also plans to add a Netflix-style training platform, where “unlimited relevant training plans” will be available to paying users, as well as nutritional guidance to help people stay fit. The startup, however, has no plans to expand into hardware.

“Most of the people out there that want to become fitter or healthier are reverting to choices that have been there for decades, like going to the gym or running but without broader context or understanding,” Sobhani said. “Or they are turning to books or very restrictive diets. Tech solutions are so much better because they can adjust to you; they can make sure what you’re doing is effective.”