Advanced Television

Eisner-backed Struum targets spring launch

January 7, 2021

Former senior-level Disney and Discovery streaming, television, and technology executives have teamed up to develop a new streaming service, backed by a multi-million dollar investment from former Disney CEO Michael Eisner through his Tornante Company.

As the brainchild of founders Lauren DeVillier, former Head of Product for Discovery Ventures, Eugene Liew, former Vice President of Product and Technology at Disney+, Paul Pastor, former Executive Vice President of Strategy, Revenue and Operations at Discovery Networks and Thomas Wadsworth, former lead Advanced Product Development for Walt Disney Imagineering, the service – branded Struum – aims to break new ground in the streaming/OTT space by creating a simpler way for people to discover programming from across the increasingly cluttered premium SVOD landscape. Struum is expected to launch in early spring of this year.

The company is currently building from the ground up a streaming technology platform, collaborating with partners including Firstlight Media. Firstlight Media is also an investor in the new business. The Struum platform is built on Microsoft Azure’s cloud-native, microservice architecture, best- in-class cloud security technology. The platform is designed to help streaming services – from top tier aspirational services to more specialised SVoD offerings – optimise discoverability of their programs and services, while providing increasingly frustrated, underserved consumers with a simple way to find programming and services they are most likely to enjoy. With one subscription, consumers can use Struum’s credit-based system to discover and consume content from the wide range of its partner services.

“Our mission is simple: to create the easiest way for people to find more of the content they love by providing value through a single subscription. As the OTT space continues to expand, there is an incredible amount of amazing video content options for TV and Movie streaming fans, but it can be overwhelming and expensive for the average viewer to delve into these options outside the biggest players in the market. With our platform, we will help viewers uncover new content and platforms, but also provide all SVoD services with the opportunity to be more easily, and frequently discovered by fans,” said company CEO Lauren DeVillier.

Struum has already struck deals with around 35 services, amassing more than 20,000 TV series, movies and shorts, that will enable the service to offer consumers a chance to discover and watch a range of programmes from feature films, live action TV series, lifestyle and reality shows, programs serving underserved audiences such as the LGBTQ and Latinx communities, and foreign language shows and series. More details of the venture, launch date, and its specific SVOD partner services will be unveiled in the coming months.

Struum CBO Paul Pastor added: “With the top-notch content and technology partners, and a team of industry experts we are able to tap into, including Michael Eisner and The Tornante Company, our goal is to create a best-in-class aggregation solution for consumers.”

Eisner commented: “With so much proliferation in the niche and specialty streaming landscape, there is a clear need for a resource that helps them seamlessly discover and consume content from these services.  This is truly a first-class team that is leveraging their wide breadth of experiences and relationships to create a solution unmatched by anything else currently available that will benefit both viewers and streaming services.”

In addition to Eisner, the company’s advisory board also comprises of Nancy Tellem, former President of CBS Entertainment and Xbox Entertainment, Ben Pyne, former President of Disney/ABC Television Distribution, and Donald Hicks, who heads global operations at Twitter.

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