We talk a lot about how the smart TV has become the center of the household. After all, it’s traditionally been the main device used by all household members to watch TV in all forms — linear, streaming and so on.
Less discussed is the role of the TV manufacturer, also a central figure, offering services to both viewers and programmers. Which raises an interesting question… how should VIZIO use our position as the center of both the home and the TV viewing ecosystem to reduce frictions and provide more value to all?
At VIZIO, we’re looking for ways to leverage our position to help viewers better navigate the still-evolving streaming landscape. We believe our neutral position in the value chain carries with it a responsibility to address any barriers that may detract from an optimal TV experience.
Atop this list is easing the confusion caused by what remains a highly fragmented environment of streaming services. The more services and apps viewers use, the more challenging it can be for them to find the shows they want, manage the subscriptions they have, or coordinate content between household members.
Recently, we introduced a new feature designed to solve at least one of those challenges by providing a centralized subscription billing and management solution — VIZIO Account. The goal is to give viewers the ability to manage multiple video services and payments in one place.
VIZIO users can simply create a VIZIO Account with their profile and payment information. Following a one-time log-in, they can then easily subscribe to new services and consolidate subscriptions:
According to research we conducted in partnership with independent strategy and consulting firm Magid, most smart TV viewers are unaware of exactly how much they spend every month on streaming subscriptions simply because of the fragmented billing landscape between providers. VIZIO Account is designed to give viewers more transparency, and more control, over their streaming budget.
What’s more, a recent Hub Entertainment Research survey revealed that 91% of respondents say accessing multiple services through a single device improves the experience. The same survey found that the ability to view a single bill for multiple sources ranks third among the benefits of accessing multiple services through a single device/interface (after simple navigation of content and the ability to easily add new channels/providers).
The benefits of VIZIO Account don’t stop there. It also offers a path for additional streaming apps and services to find their way onto the VIZIO platform. See, many streaming providers use third-party billing services to onboard new customers. Not all take credit cards directly (like Netflix or HBO Max does). Those third-party payment options are usually tied to peripherals (like a streaming stick or gaming console providers).
VIZIO Account offers a much-needed alternative that gives apps a home directly on the smart TV. Not only does this open the floodgate for many other services with similar billing requirements to join the SmartCast community of apps and services, it ultimately benefits millions of VIZIO viewers who can now gain access to additional streaming options and the content they provide.
We launched VIZIO Account with new partners like Discovery+ and STARZ, with the WeatherChannel, Baby Einstein, and others coming soon.
We hope to see additional new and existing streaming services integrate the option as well. We have already begun delivering technical specifications and terms to content partners and streaming app developers to make it easy and beneficial to integrate VIZIO Account into apps and services.
VIZIO Account is just the start. There are many other solutions we can bring to the table to bring TV viewers and programmers closer together in this evolving landscape. Stay tuned!