California-based TV maker Vizio announced today that WatchFree+, its free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) service, is dialing things up in the wake of what it’s calling “record growth.” That means it’s adding new features and expanding its channel and title offerings by partnering with Warner Bros. Discovery, Lionsgate, and more.
Since adding the “Plus” to its name in 2021, Vizio’s WatchFree+ streaming service, which is available on its SmartCast TVs, has seen steady growth — the service also recently added Philo to its smart TVs. In today’s announcement, Vizio says that viewing hours for the service have more than doubled in the past year, according to their own internal data.
Until today, the service boasted 260-plus free channels of live local TV, movies, shows, news, sports, kids programming, and more, with an additional library of more than 6,000 on-demand titles. With today’s announcement, WatchFree+ now boosts those numbers to 300 channels, 15,000 on-demand titles, and 10 Vizio-curated channels that are programmed in-house, it says.
Contributing to those new numbers is some “premium programming” that Vizio has added to WatchFree+, including channels, shows, and other on-demand content from its new expanded partnerships with Warner Bros. Discovery, Lionsgate, Sony, and Electric Entertainment.
Highlights of that programming includes 11 new channels from Warner Bros. Discovery, such as Bachelor Nation, and shows including reality series Say Yes to the Dress, and the Maggie Q drama Nikita. From Lionsgate, WatchFree+ gets six new Lionsgate-branded channels, including MovieSphere by Lionsgate that will show blockbuster films, Ebony TV by Lionsgate, which is tailored to Black audiences, and women’s channel HerSphere by Lionsgate. Lionsgate will also add the game show Celebrity Name Game and reality thriller show Ghost Hunters to the roster in the near future. On offer from independent movie and TV production house Electric Entertainment is a “24/7 channel of the cult-classic and drama series Leverage,” which is exclusive to WatchFree+, and a forthcoming ElectricNow FAST channel.
Vizio also announced the addition of new channels to its own curated special interest programming lineup that already includes its crime show channel Investigation and the food and travel channel Fork & Flight. Making it an even 10, Vizio adds Comedy Club that features stand-up specials and documentaries on comedians, and Valor, a channel dedicated to movies and series about the American military.
Lastly, Vizio’s announcement today included some menu and navigation updates to WatchFree+’s Electronic Program Guide, including new categories such as History, Documentaries, Nature + Science, and Mood + Ambiance.
“WatchFree+ has solidified its position as the premium, free streaming destination for Vizio households, thanks to our ever-expanding content offering, major studio and network partnerships, and enhanced user experience,” said Katherine Pond, group vice president of Platform Content & Partnerships. “With these latest programming additions and product updates, WatchFree+ continues to deliver an entertainment experience that consumers love.”