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Now you can watch epic fails and dog videos on so-called 'digital linear' TV

FailArmy has over 14m YouTube subscribers

Jukin Media scours the web to populate its brands FailArmy, People Are Awesome and The Pet Collective with soon-to-be-viral user-generated content.

Born on social platforms, Jukin Media’s head of marketing and communications Mike Skogmo says to think of the company as this generation’s version of America’s Funniest Home Video.

Now, Jukin Media is making a decisive move onto connected televisions (CTV). It has launched owned-and-operated apps for its brands, integrated directly into Samsung smart TVs, and propped up linear channels in video-on-demand services, including Comcast’s Xfinity X1, Pluto and Xumo.

Skogmo said the FailArmy app has had over 250,000 downloads. In total, Jukin Media earns over 120m minutes of monthly view time across its over-the-top channels on what can be described as “digital linear” programmers.

So while traditional players such as Disney, NBC Universal and WarnerMedia spent this year’s upfronts boasting new streaming capabilities to fight the Netflixes of the world, Jukin Media is betting that there’s still a major appetite for that linear, channel-surfing experience.

Jukin Media has hired former Comcast and Discovery executives to help merge the traditional linear broadcast experience with digital video.

“We’re really beefing up our expertise and getting folks who have that traditional experience to help us really build out our linear offering. I think that's been critical, and we're going to continue to do that,” said Skogmo.

Viacom has made a similar programming bet. It recently accepted a deal with AT&T that significantly cut carriage rights to stay within DirecTV’s linear ecosystem. At the same time, Viacom has deep ties to digital linear; it fully owns Pluto and has a sizable investment in Philo, another ad-supported linear streaming service.

Skogmo said that viewers are “looking for free programming to supplement” their paid-services.

Overall, Jukin Media has an omnichannel approach. While Skogmo said the company is still focused on social, he did say that life outside of social platforms is friendlier on the company’s wallet.

“The economics on CTV and our own apps are more favorable than social. That's a totally fair thing to say,” said Skogmo.

Skogmo added that Jukin Media has control over its inventory on CTV. It can sell ads directly and programmatically on CTV, whereas that’s not always possible on social platforms.

“The point is with CTV we're able to do that across the board, so we've built out a sales team and those guys are really seeing traction in the marketplace.”

According to Skogmo, revenue share on CTV is different depending on partner. He said a common relationship is one where Jukin Media controls a certain amount of inventory, a digital linear programmer controls another amount of inventory, and there is no share in revenue.

“There's a couple different ways these things are structured, but ultimately you're going to find better economics there than social,” he said.

For SpotX, Jukin Media’s adtech partner, CTV has been the company’s fastest growing sector with an ad spend increase of 367% year-over-year.

“What [Jukin Media] has seen is that there are audiences that are accumulating across all these other free, ad-supported platforms that are available on CTVs,” said Geoffrey Spence, regional vice-president, business development at SpotX.

“Digital linear programmers...are not traditional broadcast programmers that have traditionally distributed their content across cable. They now can actually find distribution through these [CTV] platforms. They can still reach a pretty sizable audience when they do actually go out there and build out a dedicated linear channel.”

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