Fireside, the streaming app powered by Mark Cuban, which today gives podcasters and other creators the ability to host interactive live shows with audience participation, will soon be expanding to the big screen of the TV. Variety reported, and Fireside confirmed, that it has acquired open streaming TV platform Stremium, which will allow Fireside’s shows to become available on a range of connected TVs, including Amazon Fire TV, Roku, smart TVs, and other.
The terms of the contract were not disclosed. Cuban retweeted Variety’s coverage, however, made no further public comment.
A company spokesman confirmed the deal to TechCrunch, noting that it was a combination of intellectual property and talent.
“Fireside has fully acquired Stremium, including its entire team and intellectual property,” the spokesperson said. “The company is the first Web3 interactive streaming platform and the acquisition will help Fireside accelerate delivery and be the only platform bringing creators, celebrities, brands and IP holders into the studio, networks and the… streaming services of the future. Expect more significant announcements on this front soon,” they added.
Fireside launched just over a year ago, following pandemic-driven demand for live entertainment startups, as well as a growing number of startups targeting the creator economy.
Despite some early — and flawed — comparisons between Fireside and other live audio platforms like Twitter Spaces or Clubhouse, the startup gained traction because of a differentiated feature set that also prioritizes video content. Shows on the Fireside platform can be streamed live into the app, recorded, saved or even broadcast to other social networks. The app also includes audience engagement tools and other features to help creators with promotion, editing, measurement, distribution, monetization and audience growth, all of which are part of Fireside’s end-to-end content production experience . More recently, the company explored Web3 technologies, including NFTs.
Co-founded by Cuban, early Yammer contributor Mike Ihbe, and former Googler, YouTuber, and Node co-founder Falon Fatemi, who sold her last company to SugarCRM, Fireside has managed to attract some high-profile developers like Jay Leno, Michael Dell, Melissa Rivers, Craig Kilborn, and screenwriter and Entourage creator Doug Ellin last year.
In a letter to Fireside investors published by Variety, Fatemi said the Stremium acquisition would help Fireside provide a “second-screen experience where audiences can use their phones to engage and engage in real-time.” interact while watching on their TV”.
“Imagine watching a live Cookalong show with your favorite chef on your TV and your phone at the same time, where you interact and are invited to talk to them directly and even show them what you’re making from the palm of your hand cook,” explained Fatemi. Also, Stremium’s infrastructure would allow creators to upload, publish, program and distribute their live shows across both mobile and TV, she added. (Stremium confirmed to us the accuracy of the letter.)
TechCrunch reported in February this year that Fireside was in talks to raise a $25 million Series A that valued its business at $125 million. That round is now complete, but Fireside hasn’t made a formal announcement about the raise, investors, or valuation. We understand this may be due to Fireside adding some additional strategic investors to the deal and plan to detail the fundraising soon. Of course, the financing helped pave the way for Fireside to make this new acquisition.
In addition to Cuban, other investors in Fireside include the Chainsmokers, HBSE, Goodwater, Animal Capital and NFL stars Larry Fitzgerald and Kelvin Beachum, as well as former NBA star Baron Davis. Prior to Serie A, Fireside had raised around $8 million.
Stremium had developed a service that allowed consumers to consolidate all their favorite channels using their TV Everywhere credentials and use a cloud DVR instead of downloading separate streaming apps. It also included a selection of free streaming channels. But the service has faced an increasingly competitive landscape where there are now numerous ways to watch free streaming content, such as Tubi, Pluto TV, The Roku Chanel, Freevee (formerly IMDb TV), Plex, and more. Meanwhile, cable cutting is accelerating, leaving fewer people with cable TV logins for Stremium to market its services to.
The Stremium website now directs visitors to Fireside and confirms the acquisition. Fireside intends to launch its TV product sometime next year as a result of the deal.