A Skinny Bundle with a Twist
Atlanta Based Vidgo, a prepaid live TV streaming service, soft-launched its first two Latino content bundles nationwide this past Sunday. The launch coincided with the highly anticipated El Clásico soccer match between Barcelona and Real Madrid. While subscription totals were not publicly released, the underlying streaming platform performed well even during the soccer match when usage levels spiked. This 2018 soft-launch marks the end of a long pre-launch journey for Vidgo, a service that publicly announced its presence in the OTT marketplace in early 2016.
A lot has changed since 2016, with Vidgo now entering a very crowded and competitive OTT field. Even within the niche of Spanish-language programming, Vidgo must compete with the likes of Fubo Latino, DirecTV’s Todo y Mas, Lionsgate’s Pantaya and Sling’s Best of Spanish. The question is, can Vidgo survive in a 2018 marketplace where more established brand names have been aggressively marketing their services?
Vidgo is an OTT streaming service that has promised its users a simple, affordable, and portable way to watch TV via an app. Since its announced entry into the OTT space in 2016, Vidgo has changed management and ownership. Vidgo is now run by CEO Shane Cannon, who was formerly the CMO of the organization, Zee Rahim, Chief Strategy Officer, and Kevin McFeely, Co-Founder of Vidgo who is responsible for the digital content strategy.
The October 2018 soft launch brought to light Vidgo’s initial Latino content offerings and pricing. The two bundles “Latino” (25 channels) and “Latino Mas” (50+ Channels) will sell for $19.99 and $29.99 per month respectively. The 2 bundled offers contain Spanish language programming with a heavy emphasis on live sports with the “Latino Mas” bundle adding additional telenovelas and movie content.
Currently the Vidgo service streams on iOS and Android mobile platforms as well as web browsers. The expectation is that support devices like Roku, Fire, Chromecast, and AppleTV will carry Vidgo before the end of November.
Vidgo has also announced that it will release an English language package in the next 60 days. Cloud-based DVR and VOD enhancements and additional streaming platforms such as smart TVs are also planned for the near future.
What separates Vidgo from its competitors is that it has created a unique niche in the marketplace, the underserved. The primary target audience for Vidgo is people with modest incomes who may not have credit established such as the first-generation immigrant population acclimated to a cash economy,. This an audience that numbers in the millions. The Vidgo service will not require a credit card nor credit checks and distribution for the service will be done online and through a network of retailers.
Risks and Opportunities
There is no doubt that Vidgo would have had an easier time of launching successfully if they had done so in a timely fashion. However, a multitude of delays and a leadership change moved the date of the soft-launch to last week. While the launch seemed to have gone off without any problems, there is still a lot of work to be done to fulfill the promises made.
Now that it has finally launched, Vidgo must keep it promises to the consumer. The first promise is that it will be able to run its service on other devices such as Chromecast, Fire TV, and Roku. It also needs to launch its English language package in a timely manner and press ahead with the technology advances such as cloud-based VOD and DVR services and to add additional streaming platforms for its users. Vidgo also needs to keep its promise to be low in price and deliver quality relevant content.
According to public record, Vidgo has raised $500,000, and will need to close its next round of financing to have any chance of success. Their strategy is well thought out. Now it is a matter of establishing a brand before any competitors try to copy the Vidgo strategy.
Should Vidgo be able to raise enough capital, they have created a nice niche for themselves. Their distribution concept (online & retail) is reliable, and the idea of no credit checks or contracts is smart. Their soft launch is proof that their technology works and their content strategy is good. Should they be able to put all of these concepts together at a low cost, then they will be one of the very few new entrants poised for success.
The vMVPD marketplace is highly competitive with many players falling by the wayside. In fact, DramaFever, the streaming service focusing on Asian dramas declared bankruptcy in mid-October. It would not surprise us to hear about more bankruptcies to come. Should Vidgo be able to raise the money that it needs, we give this company a better than average chance to not only survive, but to thrive. Vidgo’s distribution strategy is sound and serving those without credit cards or established credit is needed. In order to be successful, however, they must execute quickly or risk deeper pocketed rivals replicating their business plans and strategies.
A 20-year veteran media executive, Rob Silvershein’s success in today’s competitive media environment is a direct result of his unique experiences spanning traditional, emerging, and startup media platforms. He is an accomplished strategist and spends most of his time advising media companies on how to structure themselves for long term success. He currently lives in Manhattan Beach, CA.