Fullscreen, the popular YouTube network majority owned by AT&T and the Chernin Group, is introducing an ad-free video on demand service, a move that it says is the "first video membership experience programmed for the social-first generation."
The $4.99-per-month subscription will feature scripted and unscripted original content as well as movies and TV shows from the '80s and '90s like "Saved by the Bell," offerings that are all part of a move to draw in young viewers who follow social-media stars. The service will debut with more than 800 hours of content, according to Fullscreen, and will be available online and via the iPhone, iPad, select Android Phones and Chromecast.
Fullscreen's original content includes "Electra Woman & Dyna Girl," a Sid and Marty Krofft reboot starring Grace Helbig and Hannah Hart; "Filthy Preppy Teen$," from Paul Scheer ("Party Over Here," "Fresh off the Boat"), Abominable Pictures and Jonathan Stern ("Children's Hospital," "Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp"); and "Jack & Dean of All Trades," a workplace comedy starring and created by Jack Howard and Dean Dobbs.
"We did a lot of listening and we heard this was the right approach from our creators themselves," said Fullscreen Founder and CEO George Strompolos. While many of the content creators Fullscreen works with have sizeable followings, they also want the opportunity to work on bigger productions that have more resources, he added. "The economics of social video don't often allow that and they wanted a place to do that," he said.
Licensed content includes MTV's "Daria," "Dawson's Creek," "Cruel Intentions" and "Can't Hardly Wait."
"We took a more curated approach to licensing," said Mr. Strompolos. "We don't think licensed content is the primary reason people will subscribe to our service, but when they're with us they'll want to connect to the classics, for community or nostalgic purposes."
AT&T will collaborate with Fullscreen to market and promote the service to AT&T's video, mobile and broadband customers. AT&T will also co-produce content that will air both on Fullscreen's video on demand service as well as on the Audience Network service for DirecTV and AT&T U-verse subscribers. AT&T and Fullscreen declined to elaborate on those plans.
The carrier and Fullscreen introduced another partnership in February, creating Hello Lab, a yearlong project featuring 10 digital and social influencers that will result in new video series as well as podcasts, concerts, meetups and giveaways.
Fullscreen's new offering is "an important part of our entertainment strategy for this demographic and a great fit with our mobile, video and broadband services," said John Stankey, CEO of AT&T Entertainment Group, in a statement. "We're pleased to be working with a proven leader in creating content for millennials that's relevant, social and designed for viewing on mobile and other connected devices."
Additional device support will roll out to other internet-enabled devices later this year, the company said. Fullscreen will also offer a 30-day free trial to encourage sampling.