Plex Wants to Add Subscription Channels, Rental Option, More

By Gabriela Vatu / January 9, 2020

Plex is taking on new challenges as it seeks to become a one-stop-shop for all the content you may want to watch. The platform wants to add subscription video, a marketplace for rentals and purchases, and integration of content Plex can't host, such as shows and movies created and streamed by other platforms.

Back in December, Plex announced the launch of its ad-supported streaming services in over 200 countries, working to compete with other similar tools. But that's not nearly enough for the company that seeks to expand even more by offering visitors more ways to consume content.

Nowadays, Plex mixes in live TV streaming for cord-cutters with their own antennas, cloud DVR, podcasts, web shows, Tidal music streaming, and an ad-supported catalog of movies and shows. If there was anything free they could add to their service, they pretty much did that already.

But the thing about today's consumers is that they want to watch a lot of content that is created by services that require a subscription, whether we're talking about Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, Apple TV+, Disney+, or any others we may have forgotten to add to this evergrowing list.

A solution to this problem would be the integration of deep-linking into the service. Basically, they want to be able to allow you to subscribe to Hulu, for instance, or HBO, through their service and you could then watch the content from these services on the Plex app. This is similar to what Amazon Prime is doing with the Prime Video Channels it offers, or a platform like Reelgood, where you can browse for content from quite a few streaming services.

There doesn't seem to be an immediate hurry to integrate these features, it seems. According to a statement Plex CEO Keith Valory gave to TechCrunch, the company wants to focus on expanding the ad-supported content library primarily, but these other features are certainly on their list.

"We want to have a critical mass of content available before we have deep linking capabilities. But if those deep-linking opportunities present themselves earlier, we’re also optimistic. If we can make a feature relatively easy for users and they love it, that’s what we as a company have always done," Valory told TechCrunch.

On top of these goals, they're also in talks with studios and companies interested in delivering their subscription services through Plex, aiming to bring between 15 and 20 SVOD channels.

While it's unclear exactly what feature will be launched when it does look like we're getting at least some of these this year. One thing that is clear is that Plex is looking to become the place you go to control most of your content watching, whether we're talking about streaming free movies and shows, checking out your favorite pay-per-view channel, or looking into Hulu or another similar platform; a dashboard for streaming content, if you will.

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