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U.S. app that lets viewers sample 40 streaming services raises $7 million

By Reuters

By Dawn Chmielewski

– A streaming service that seeks to simplify the subscription model has raised $7 million from an investor group led by Canadian media company Corus Entertainment.

Struum brings the “ClassPass” model, which allows members to sample a variety of different gyms for a fixed monthly fee, to entertainment. Subscribers pay $4.99 a month to sample thousands of movies and television shows across more than 40 niche services.

Positioned as an aggregator, Struum offers users a way to watch shows from different services without having to subscribe to each one a la carte.

Subscribers receive a fixed number of monthly credits which they redeem to watch shows, choosing from an eclectic mix of content, from Echoboom Sports’ action sports programs to Tastemade’s cooking shows and the BBC Select’s documentaries. It does not include major services like Netflix and does not intend to do so.

“The credit-based sampling model is a proven model,” said Corus CEO Doug Murphy. “So when I first got wind of it … I thought, ‘Well, this is a lay-up.’ It solves a market need.”

Struum launched a preview on Apple phones and tablets in May, attracting tens of thousands of installs. CEO Lauren DeVillier said the company plans to use proceeds from the Series A investment to grow its content library, enhance its technology and expand the service outside the United States.

At the same time, it is broadening distribution to Android devices, as well as to the living room, via Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV.

Murphy said Corus will be Struum’s exclusive partner when the service launches in Canada, which is expected to happen in 2022.

The company, founded by Walt Disney Co and Discovery veterans, attracted early backing from former Disney CEO Michael Eisner through his Tornante Company. He said the idea resonated with him without need for exhaustive research.

“Not only is aggregation the right idea,” said Eisner. “But the way they’re thinking of aggregating to me makes sense.”