Atmosphere, which offers a free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) service for businesses, has surpassed 120 million monthly viewers and continues to expand the reach of its pioneering audio-optional streaming platform within the US and internationally.

Based in Texas (US), Atmosphere was founded in 2019 and now serves some 60,000 locations and 75,000-plus TV screens, mostly in the US, but the company announced in May 2023 that its platform for out-of-home viewing had also expanded to over 5,000 venues internationally, including 2,000 in Canada and 1,000 in Europe. Atmosphere’s geographic expansion is being aided by the Series D funding round of $65m that it announced in February 2023 and which was led by Sageview Capital, Valor Equity Partners, and S3 Ventures. With that round, the streamer’s private market valuation reached $1bn, giving it unicorn company status.

Targeting the out-of-home market

Rather than fighting for eyeballs in the crowded in-home streaming space, Atmosphere is carving out a role by delivering short-form entertainment and news via 50 unique channels viewed over connected TVs in restaurants, bars, gyms, doctor offices, auto repair shops, children’s fun centers, and other types of businesses.

Drinking and dining establishments make up 45% of Atmosphere’s current locations. Customer venues include US businesses Burger King, Texas Roadhouse, Meineke, and Snap Fitness, while UK chains Tops Pizza and énergie Fitness have also jumped on board.

Atmosphere is targeting 2.4 million venues in the US and more than 5 million venues globally for its service, which is 100% advertising supported. The company pitches a new way for advertisers to engage with audiences as they gain addressability that didn’t exist previously. Advertising pharmaceutical products to viewers in a doctor’s office or a particular brand of beer to bar patrons makes the most of a captive audience’s attention with contextually targeted ads.

Atmosphere is built for purpose

Venues using the service gain a totally free alternative to traditional cable or satellite pay TV, which Atmosphere claims will keep their clientele engaged with the business rather than scrolling on their phones. Atmosphere does not need to roll out a truck to install service; rather, it ships a device with a QR code to the venue, where the device is plugged into a TV’s HDMI port, switched on, and connected to WiFi in a process the company claims should take about two minutes.

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Atmosphere’s programming ethos revolves around providing captivating short-form video that can be enjoyed with the audio on or off via a growing list of channels featuring epic sports moments, cute pets, trivia, funny videos, and more. The company aims to appeal to both venues and advertisers by promising content that is brand-safe with significant editorial oversight to ensure it avoids being polarizing.

Passing time in a public location by watching upbeat videos rather than CNN or another traditional news channel with hard-to-see closed captioning sounds particularly appealing given today’s fraught political environment. Bar patrons may not share the same political views, but they might come together to appreciate brief videos featuring adorable puppies.