Plex could be becoming more like a Roku. The growing Plex Movies and TV Shows section now includes Crackle’s library. For years Plex had a listing of what it called channels, later renamed plugins. The entries were a way to access web-based content on-demand and ranged from Networks to apps and were not officially supported. As the platform got more mainstream, channels found their way off of Plex and were sort of replaced by the podcasts and web shows. But a major effort from Plex to develop ad-supported streaming on top of the other content has opened the door to channels once more.
In the past Plex had its own channel store of sorts. At the moment there is only one channel listed and it can be accessed via the movies and TV option in Plex. The default section includes all of the video selections available via Plex with Crackle listed in separate rows.
On the other hand the Crackle channel allows users to browse the in a Plex flavored interface all on its own. Users can get the same interactivity between Crackle and the rest of the content one Plex. Movies that can be found on Plex are listed in selections when a title is selected. You can still use a star to discover other content where you can find them.
Being that Plex has put a channel tab in place users should expect to see more partnerships on the way which is meant to further entice users to spend time in the Plex app instead of bouncing around a Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV or any other device. What channels are on the way? We made a list of things we hope to see in the future.
How is this helpful for the apps themselves? It gives them another distribution platform. In fact as Plex grows this list of partners it will make the media center a far more essential app for Android boxes and other platforms in general. For apps like Crackle this is not as big a deal as it is for smaller lesser known brands. For a number of existing apps It will open up avenues on a bevy of smart TV’s or Android boxes without Android TV built-in. If Plex can build a library of distribution partners that provide content that would otherwise be unavailable on a platform then it becomes that much more valuable.
Plex is an app that you can find almost everywhere. But others not so much. Especially new promising platforms. This could allow Plex to operate in much the same way the Pluto TV or XUMO have as an avenue to promote specific brands by building out a plug and play distribution framework.