Fox Corporation has acquired the streaming platform Tubi for $440 million, bringing more than 20,000 movies and shows to the platform.
Tubi partners with top studios and networks to provide its users with thousands of movies and TV shows, currently has more than 25 million users. Fox Corporation, which is a separate entity from 21st Century Fox doesn’t have its own popular streaming platform.
“Tubi will immediately expand our direct-to-consumer audience and capabilities and will provide our advertising partners with more opportunities to reach audiences at scale,” Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch said in a press release. “Importantly, coupled with the combined power of FOX’s existing networks, Tubi provides a substantial base from which we will drive long-term growth in the direct-to-consumer arena.”
Cable customers can stream some forms of shows on Fox’s website, but in terms of a platform that can compete with other free, ad-supported streamers including Pluto TV, Xumu, and Crackle, Tubi is now it.
Fox is planning to continue running Tubi as an independent service, according to the press release, meaning it won’t come with a new Fox name, Fox will still use Tubi to offer a large number of its older TV shows and movies for free to subscribers. The company is also looking to expand the type of content that Tubi can provide to its subscribers through national and local news, alongside sports program. Tubi is not going to get into the originals business. So, don’t think of it as a competitor to Disney Plus, Netflix, Apple TV Plus, or Hulu.
The ad-supported video streaming market saw a 38% growth in revenue between 2018 and 2019, and that number is expected to increase. ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish told investors last month that Pluto TV touts more than 22 million monthly users — a growth of 75% year over year. As ViacomCBS grows its streaming footprint, having a free, ad-supported service as Pluto TV helps. Bakish also expects that number to hit 30 million by December 2020. Similarly, Xumo has 5.5 million active monthly users, and Comcast sees it as a good asset to have in the streaming wars.