Tubi TV wants to take on Crackle with free movies and TV shows

Watch out, Crackle, (S SNE) there’s a new kid in town: Sony’s ad-supported streaming service got some competition this week from Tubi TV, a new streaming app from the San Francisco-based connected TV startup adRise. Tubi TV is already available on Amazon’s (S AMZN) new Fire TV, and plans to launch on Roku and Xbox (S MSFT) 360 in the coming days.
Tubi TV’s ambitious goal is to become the largest library of free movies and TV shows, adRise  founder and CEO Farhad Massoudi said during an interview earlier this week. At launch, Tubi TV will have more than 3,000 titles licensed from partners like the U.K.’s iTV, Endemol, Hasbro and Cinedigm. In the next six months, the company plans to grow Tubi’s catalog to 20,000 titles.
Netflix (S NFLX) subscribers will recognize some of the titles, while others haven’t been available on other streaming services yet. adRise Head of Bizdev Thomas Ahn Hicks told me that Tubi isn’t in the business of licensing exclusive content, but that the company’s existing relationships with content providers — adRise has been building connected TV apps for Starz, Hasbro and others — has helped to get access to a wide library of content.
So why would a studio or production company that has its own apps also want to distribute its content through Tubi TV’s app? Massoudi said that the connected TV space is increasingly getting crowded, with hundreds of apps competing for a viewer’s attention. Bundling all the free and ad-supported content in one app, while also promoting the content of each studio, could help to solve that issue, he argued, adding that Tubi wanted to become the “first stop after Netflix.”
Hicks agreed, and said that Tubi could be another option for users who already have Netflix. “This is really a complement to what’s out there,” in regard to existing subscription offerings, he said.