What is Frndly? If you use streaming devices you may have recently stumbled across a service called Frndly. Nope not a typo. It’s obviously meant to be called Friendly, but you can not copyright the word friendly so here we are with that. Here is how we look at Frndly. Despite what the purveyors of the big cable bundle want the general public to believe, most people do not watch very many TV channels. They have hundreds and watch 12 or so. This is because they have their own interests and even within their interests they have their preferences. Just think of how many people tune in to both Rachel Maddow and Tucker Carlson.
Frndly is a $5.99 streaming option for those who for the most part spend their TV time watching a certain kind formulaic movies and TV shows. All genres are formulaic after all. The formula for the Frndly viewer is the redemption story, or the reunion of lost love, Parent child etc. So not surprisingly the service is anchored by three channels from Hallmark. They are Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movie Mysteries, and Hallmark Drama. But not to be limited to just the Hallmark brand the service includes other television channels such as broadcast option LightTV. The channel is a free over the air channel where viewers can find programming akin to the old Nick at Nite lineup. Flipper, Mr. Ed, Patty Duke and others along with a rotating selection of movies. Is it family Friendly? Yes I mean it certainly isn’t going to upset anyone, but its target audience seems to be more older baby boomer than cross generational. Another entry is UPtv. UPtv is very similar to LightTV, in fact it even shares some programming. There are some notable differences though. UPtv is a cable channel found on numerous major carriers. Its lineup also features more modern shows like Americas Funniest Home Videos, Home Improvement, Fresh of the Boat, various game shows, The Librarians with some much older content thrown in as well. It features some original programming and of course a nightly selection of Formula movies. This Thursday you can catch Christmas with a Prince “becoming Royal” This is the sequel to Christmas With A Prince, which airs on Wednesday night. Want commercial free programming? PixL is a commercial free option with tons of original programing. Its offerings brim with romance stories and during December Christmas romance movies. Along with many offerings targeted at that one demographic Frndly also has a channel built completely around babies. It’s called Baby First. Baby First is an educational channel for babies. The programming helps get learning started with shows about counting and letters etc. Once a child is old enough to pay attention to a TV they can get started. There are also resources for mothers. Yeah the stay at home dads are ignored here. The content is similar to what one might find on Noggin, or PBS kids. It is certainly safe for kids.
On a totally different front Frndly takes a shallow dive into sports with programming built around the outdoor sportsman lifestyle. There are three channels targeting this demographic they include The Outdoor Channel, World Fishing Network and the Sportsman Channel. All three are built around the hunter fisherman. In fact it might be hard to tell the networks apart as they are all part of the same group of channels. Its very much like the Hallmark channels in that they all feature content aimed directly at people who hunt and fish to a point where it all blends together.
So, is this a good cord cutting option? If your interests are very specific then it certainly is. $5.99 for all those movie channels on its own might be worth it to someone who has dropped cable and doesn’t watch much TV outside of that sort of genre. Throw in some syndicated programming from over the air TV channels and a free app or so from Roku, Fire TV etc and it could be a match made in heaven. If there is an outdoor enthusiast in the home they will love the three sportsman channels as well. There has always been an audience for that type of programming. But what it misses in its offerings is anything in between.
What Frndly seems to be saying is that Family Friendly TV is for the most part about clean romance stories and very old TV shows. Will a modern 12-year-old relate to Flipper (the show about the Dolphin, not a home show) or Mr Ed? In many ways the service is offering content that can typically be found other places, but like any good service it puts it all in once place so that there is not too much searching. It would be a treasure trove to a specific audience. In fact its channel lineup cannot be found anywhere else for that kind of price. The vast majority of its lineup is available via Fubo TV and Sling TV, but in order to get those channels a user would have to spend at least $50.00 in order to get the kind of packages needed to cobble everything together.
The great thing about streaming is that you really don’t have to limit yourself to one thing. Can you get those channels somewhere else? Yes. Let’s say your family has a more general TV need outside the scope of the specific offerings on Frndly. Sling TV offers The Sportsman Channel, PixL and Out Door channel as part of a $5 Heartland addon to its basic a service that includes AMC, ESPN and major main stream channels. The Hallmark channels are part of another $5.00 add-on called Lifestyle. So it’s obviously cheaper to have the Frndly app than to add multiple addons to another service. As Frndly add more content its value as an addon to any given service grows.
So Is Frndly a good cord cutting option? We say yes. Because is solves a problem. The it angers the question, how do you replace access to all those romance movies and hunting shows that are regularly available on cable without having to spend tons of money on channels you don’t want? If that is your thing, and it certainly is for some folks. Even more it allows users to pick and choose through other streaming services that do not offer the channels on Frndly but have things they might want like Fox News or ESPN without feeling the need to add another tier or two to a stand alone service in order to get the shows they want.