European video-on-demand platform Rakuten is launching what it calls “the first pan-European” ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) platform.
Rakuten TV will now offer a free, ad-supported section, alongside its pay-per-view offerings.
Available at launch will be Rakuten-exclusive docuseries Matchday – Inside FC Barcelona. The initial offering will include other exclusive Rakuten content, docuseries, news and sports channels, with a combined linear and on-demand offering.
The service will be available in beta version on smart TVs and will be progressively rolled out on other platforms including mobile and desktop.
“We are incredibly proud to take this step after having tripled our presence in Europe just a few months ago. Rakuten TV continues to evolve rapidly alongside consumer trends within the industry, where there is a clear trend of advertisers moving away from linear TV and towards VOD,” said Jacinto Roca, Rakuten TV Founder and CEO, in a statement.
“This is a unique opportunity for Rakuten TV which has already direct access to millions of European households through its branded remote control button of the main Smart TV brands. This is the mere beginning of a huge project which will see the launch of additional channels and exclusive content in the coming months.”
The company revealed the news at MIPCOM today (Oct. 15) in Cannes during the “AVOD on the Rise” panel, one day after American AVOD Tubi CEO Farhad Massoudi gave a keynote address championing the role of AVODs in the rapidly-expanding VOD market, ahead of numerous new SVOD launches, including Disney+, Peacock and Apple TV+.
Rakuten TV’s AVOD offering will join Tubi, which launches in the UK early next year, as revealed during the keynote.