[Interview] Samsung TV Plus Sets a New Standard for Future TVs

on August 30, 2023
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Samsung TV Plus, Samsung’s free ad-supported TV (FAST) service, has grown into an industry-leading platform — operating 2,000 channels in 24 countries — since its launch in 2015. The platform’s success continues to skyrocket, with consumers in these countries using Samsung TV Plus across 500 million devices as of June 2023 and recording three billion hours of accumulated viewing time worldwide in 2022.


With its competitive service structure, Samsung TV Plus benefits consumers as well as content and ad partners — providing new, enriching viewing experiences thanks to its extensive network. The second article in this series looks at how the platform is setting the standard for at-home TV viewing experiences and its vision for the future.


The previous article in this series introduced the FAST market and the history behind Samsung TV Plus. This week, Samsung Newsroom sat down with Yujung Kang, Junga Park and Sejin Woo of the Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics to discuss the current status of the industry-leading platform and its future.


▲ (From left) Sejin Woo, Yujung Kang and Junga Park of the Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics



Get the Most Out of Your TV: Content for Every User

▲ Since its launch in 2015, Samsung TV Plus has grown to become an industry-leading platform, offering 2,000 channels in 24 countries.


Samsung TV Plus, Samsung Electronics’ FAST platform, provides viewers with high-quality entertainment. By simply turning on their smart TVs, Samsung TV Plus users have access to thousands of ad-supported channels with no subscription necessary. “Focusing on the fundamental value of TVs, Samsung TV Plus was designed to resemble broadcast TV, allowing viewers to enjoy content without the hassle of a complicated set-up process,“ said Sejin Woo.


The biggest advantage of Samsung TV Plus is its competitive content offerings that enable users to conveniently access a variety of popular programs from a single platform. Users can binge-watch their favorite TV series and discover new programs through tailored content recommendations.



Samsung TV Plus’ Secret to Success: A Carefully Calibrated Operation

▲ Yujung Kang explains the content adjustment process of partner channels on Samsung TV Plus.


In addition to offering diverse content, Samsung optimizes the viewing experience for users through its content partnerships. Partners must undergo an onboarding process for nine to 13 weeks to adjust screen aspect ratio, resolution and device compatibility — building an enriching viewing experience fit for any streaming environment.


“Since unexpected problems can occur even when you follow the rules, human intervention is necessary when tailoring content to devices,” said Yujung Kang. The operation team monitors streaming specifications when a channel launch is set, so users can comfortably stream content across different devices such as smartphones, tablets and TVs. A variety of factors must be checked including the audio-to-video synchronization, program guide, logos and thumbnails — against more than 10 categories and subcategories. This rigorous procedure is designed to detect and identify any potential issues that may arise when content is continuously played for more than 24 hours. Once completed, Samsung adjusts the subtitle readability and ensures stable streaming with engineers.


These processes serve as the foundation for seamlessly hosting and operating over 2,000 global channels in real-time, all day every day. “We carefully listen and communicate with viewers while directly monitoring each channel during launch, operation and termination — treating our partner channels like our own company products,“ said Yujung.



Customized Content for Every Occasion

While stable service is crucial during viewing, content quality makes all the difference. To reduce content clutter and guarantee content quality meets the highest standards, Samsung focuses on providing high-quality content rather than merely expanding the number of channels. In line with this approach, Samsung TV Plus considers objective viewer data analytics and conducts internal discussions to curate a selection of content that users will enjoy watching.


Samsung TV Plus’ goal is to make every hour “prime time.” To this end, Samsung updates content and adjusts channels every other week so that viewers have access to only the best content they are bound to enjoy. Upon analyzing data and trends, the company removes content from the platform that has low viewership. In addition to this, Samsung regularly organizes channels around certain events, holidays and seasons to promote content users may not want to miss out on.


▲ Sejin Woo explains how strategy is necessary when organizing channels on Samsung TV Plus.


“Before adding a new season of a TV series, we create a channel where viewers can watch previous seasons and adjust the order of channels to make the content stand out,” said Sejin. “There’s a strategy behind every channel.”



Targeting Global Viewers Through Curated Content

Understanding the unique content preferences of users around the world is essential when determining channel offerings as users’ preferences differ by location, culture and more. As such, Samsung TV Plus works with content partnership experts in each region to understand and source content.


▲ Junga states how she prioritizes understanding global cultures when selecting content.


“We’re able to identify the true value of content only when we combine data with the opinions of experts who fully understand a target country,” Junga Park said. While data is crucial when analyzing a TV program’s relative popularity, content experts provide valuable insight into the preferences of local viewers, ensuring that selected content will be well received.


“It is a delicate balance of art and science,” she added.


▲ Different titles and genres are popular in different countries


These differences in content preferences are particularly noticeable between viewers in Korea and the United States. While Korean viewers tend to select trending shows, American viewers prefer to watch shows based on individual preferences.


“In Korea, people will ask each other if they have seen the latest episode of a TV show since trending content is a conversation starter. However, in the United States, the popularity of over 200 channels is pretty evenly spread — reflecting the diversity of viewers’ content preferences,” said Yujung.


Local content is especially well received in multilingual nations such as India and European countries. Yet, preferences for subtitles differ by region — viewers in Korea are not disturbed by subtitles, but viewers in Spain prefer dubbed content. “When it comes to sourcing content, our top priority is language. For example, we provide not only English and Hindi, but also Marathi, Tamil, Punjabi, Gujrati, Bengali, Telegu, and Bhojpuri content in India,” she added.



Samsung TV Plus Aims To Become a Next Generation Media Platform

Samsung TV Plus is celebrating its ninth anniversary by expanding its service to more devices and continuing to enhance its content library through stronger partnerships.


Looking ahead, Yujung highlighted how Samsung is seeking to use the latest technological tools to increase efficiency. “Many factors, such as resolution, subtitles and content format, still need to be managed by someone,” she said. “We are planning to adopt automation processes across our operations to make them more efficient. Since ‘operation never sleeps,’ we will enable our service to be automatically set if data is entered. More efficient service operation is one of our top priorities.”


Another goal for the platform is to expand market presence and brand awareness. “There are some users who use Samsung TV Plus frequently but don’t necessarily know it’s a Samsung product,” said Sejin. “This year, we will carry out customized marketing activities tailored to each country and drive more global users to the platform through stronger brand awareness.”


Junga is confident that the FAST market will continue to grow as global streaming services such as Samsung TV Plus strive to become the next generation of TV. “Samsung will continue to enhance the platform to become the world’s largest TV service provider, one that will present users with unparalleled viewing experiences while ensuring content and ad partners benefit,” said Junga.


As a new era of TV emerges, Samsung remains steadfast in its commitment to providing the best viewing experiences for users around the world.

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