Fox CEO: Tubi the ‘Little Guy’ in ‘Monty Python’ Movie Fight Scene

As media giants grapple with escalating costs and losses in their streaming video business units, Fox Corp. sits on the sidelines having washed its hands of its Hulu ownership stake in 2019 following the $71 billion 20th Century Fox asset sale to Disney.

For CEO Lachlan Murdoch, the strategy of moving away from subscription streaming to ad-supported VOD is akin to the infamous fight scene in the 1995 dark comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail, in which two knights attempt to maul each other in numerous ways.

CEO Lachlan Murdoch

Speaking March 9 at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in San Francisco, Murdoch says Tubi remains the streaming market’s unassuming player avoiding the direct-to-consumer fiscal bloodshed.

“We’re the little guy,” Murdoch said. “We’re going to be the one to survive because we haven’t had our arms or legs cut off.”

Murdoch said the whole thesis behind the 20th Century Fox asset sale to Disney was based on avoiding a streaming arms war.

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“We could give Disney a winner in the SVOD space [i.e. Hulu] while focusing on our core brands: Live news and live sports, which is where advertisers and audiences are pivoting to,” he said.

Unlike the market focus on free ad-supported streaming TV channels, Murdoch said Tubi isn’t a FAST platform. Instead, he characterizes the service as an ad-supported VOD pure play with the largest video content library of any streaming video service in the world at 50,000 titles.

“All library titles, which keeps the costs down,” he said. “Viewer engagement is focused on specific content, which makes that viewer very important to advertisers.”

Murdoch said he believes the evolution of ad-supported SVOD tiers to the market is good for the whole streaming industry, which he said will up CPMs at Tubi.

Taking a swipe at competing SVOD services such as Paramount+ and Peacock that are incorporating live sports onto their platforms, Murdoch said Fox would continue to keep sports exclusive to linear broadcast television.

“We don’t have a general entertainment underperforming SVOD service, so we don’t need to put sports in,” he said. “The value for us is to keep those sports exclusive to broadcast.”

When asked about the pending high-profile $1.6 billion Dominion Voting Systems defamation lawsuit against Fox News, which alleges Fox allowed opinion hosts such as Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Maria Bartiromo and Laura Ingraham to knowingly peddle conspiracy theories about Dominion voting machines used in the 2020 Presidential Election, Murdoch said the case wasn’t about breaking the law or news gathering.

“A news organization has an obligation to report news wholesomely, and without fear or favor,” he said. “And that’s what Fox News has always done. And that’s what Fox News will always do. And I think a lot of the noise you hear about this case is actually not about the law. It’s not about journalism. It’s really about the politics. And that’s unfortunately more reflective of the polarized society we live in today.”

Murdoch claimed that more Democrats, Hispanics and Asians watch Fox News than watch CNN or MSNBC.

“So, the position of the [Fox News] channel is very strong,” he said.

The Dominion lawsuit is slated to go to trial in April, according to Murdoch.

‘Rocky,’ ‘Sailor Moon’ Channels Among Content Headed to Pluto TV in March

Free streaming TV service Pluto TV has announced new channels and programming coming to the service in March, including channels with “Rocky” movies and “Sailor Moon” content.

On March 1, the Hollywood movie franchise “Rocky” will enter the Pluto TV programming ring with a new, limited-run channel — Pluto TV Rocky. The channel will stream the “Rocky Collection,” featuring Rocky (1976), Rocky II (1979), Rocky III (1982), Rocky IV (1985), Rocky V (1990) and Rocky Balboa (2006).

Beginning every Wednesday in March, Pluto TV will be highlighting WOW — Women of Wrestling with the new season one reboot episodes and two docuseries, “My Road to WOW — The Secrets of the Superheroes” and “The Origin of WOW — Women of Wrestling,” coming later this month. To celebrate, wrestlers from WOW — Women of Wrestling will join Pluto TV’s Stream-Along on social media every Wednesday in March where they will share insights and special behind-the-scenes commentary.

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The classic anime television show “Sailor Moon,” based on the manga originally launched in the 1990s, will also be joining the Pluto TV lineup in March. The Sailor Moon channel will provide viewers access to hundreds of hours and episodes, including all 200 episodes of “The Pretty Guardians Sailor Moon,” all episodes of “The Pretty Guardians Sailor Moon Crystal,” and The Pretty Guardians Sailor Moon R: The Movie, The Pretty Guardians Sailor Moon S: The Movie and The Pretty Guardians Sailor Moon Super S: The Movie.

Season 13 of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” will stream exclusively on Pluto TV on the MST3K channel, and all seven seasons of “Star Trek: Voyager” will land on Pluto TV’s dedicated Star Trek channel, More Star Trek.

Also in March, Pluto TV is adding 2,000 on-demand episodes from CBS and Paramount Media Networks series. Select seasons will be available from shows including “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” “The Challenge,” “The Hills,” “Key & Peele,” “Bar Rescue,” “Nathan for You,” “Judge Judy” and more.  This latest installment follows the 6000-plus CBS episodes added to Pluto TV’s VOD section late last year.

Digital TV Research: Latin America SVOD Revenue Tops Surging AVOD Thanks to U.S. Services

Subscription streaming and ad-supported VOD revenue across 19 Latin American countries is projected increase by $7 billion between 2022 and 2028 to reach $16 billion, according to analysis from Digital TV Research. While ad-supported VOD content and subscription-based VOD will each add $3 billion over this period, SVOD will remain the region’s largest over-the-top video revenue source, contributing $9.7 billion by 2028 — double the AVOD total.

Latin American SVOD revenue will continue to be driven by Netflix, followed by Disney+, HBO/HBO Max and Paramount+.

Brazil and Mexico combined will provide 64% of the region’s revenue in 2028. Brazil will add $2.9 billion and Mexico $1.6 billion.

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“Five platforms will account for two-thirds of the region’s OTT revenue by 2028,” analyst Simon Murray said in a statement. “We expect that Netflix, Disney+, HBO and Paramount will all start hybrid AVOD-SVOD platforms in the short term. AVOD will significantly boost revenue for these platforms as SVOD growth falters.”

Chicken Soup for the Soul Inks Deal With KC Global Media to Expand Internationally

Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment and KC Global Media have inked an agreement for the expansion of the companies’ international reach across free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) and ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD).

The agreement further enhances growth across Asia, featuring a fresh volume of curated genres, including series, movies, and factual titles such as Lionel Messi: The Greatest, BTS: Global Takeover, Adele: Homecoming and other titles.

The companies anticipate launching additional FAST channels and licensing AVOD rights in 2023.

“One of our areas of focus in 2023 is to grow the availability of our owned content globally — and monetize it in every way possible,” Elana Sofko, chief strategy officer of Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, said in a statement. “We always seek to work with prominent media companies already successful in the markets we are entering. KC Global Media is a company with deep relationships throughout Asia, and we know we can continue to scale our international business together.” 

“As we head into 2023, one of our key strategic goals is to increase our volume and diversity of premiums content in our current portfolio,”  Andy Kaplan, co-founder and chairman of KC Global Media, said in a statement. “Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment is one of the largest content providers, and this strategic partnership gives us an edge as we provide more value to our partners and affiliates in the region. This, in turn, will also enable us to reach out to new audiences and new territories and create more opportunities around the world as we continue to grow our business with our affiliates and streaming platforms.“

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This strategic agreement strengthens Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment’s international presence as it joins KC Global Media’s extensive portfolio in Asia, through AVOD licensing with its wide variety of content across multi-genres and the launch of FAST Channels in Asia, according to a Chicken Soup release.

Fox Weather FAST Service Expands Operations

Fox Weather, Fox News Media’s free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) weather service, has expanded its distribution to include Optimum, Spectrum and LG Channels.

Since launching in October 2021, Fox Weather has added a number of distribution partners, including Verizon Fios, The Roku Channel, fuboTV, YouTube TV, Amazon News, DirecTV Stream, Xumo Play, WOW!, Vidgo, TuneIn and Plex. The service continues to be available via simulcast on Fox Business Network on weekend mornings, as well as through Fox Television Station Digital Networks in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, among others.

“Fox Weather has now become a destination for viewers across many major providers with this expanded distribution,” Sharri Berg, president of Fox Weather, said in a statement.

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Controversial Saudi LIV Golf Tour Bows Streaming Service

LIV Golf, the upstart professional golf tour financially back by Saudi Arabia, has launched a branded streaming video app and website —  LIV Golf Plus and — to access live and on-demand coverage of the 2023 LIV Golf League, which began play Feb. 24 at the league’s season-opening tournament LIV Golf Mayakoba in Mexico.

The app is available free to download across iOS, Android, Apple TV and Fire TV. LIV Golf League broadcasts will also be available on

“In keeping with the content distribution strategy of other major sports leagues, the LIV Golf Plus streaming app allows more access to our content from more places for more people,” Will Staeger, LIV Golf chief media officer, said in a statement.

LIV Golf launched last year with PGA Tour stars Cam Smith, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Sergio Garcia, Rory Mcllroy, Jordan Spieth and Phil Mickelson, among others, defecting to the new league following eyebrow-raising, mega-million dollar incentives.

In the United States, the CW Network is broadcasting LIV Golf across all  markets as part of the network’s previously announced multiyear exclusive broadcast agreement. All 14 events will be delivered to more than 120 million U.S. households and streamed live to the CW App.

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Broadcasts feature an on-air announce team that includes Arlo White, David Feherty, Jerry Foltz, Su-Ann Heng, Dom Boulet and Troy Mullins.

LIV’s coverage includes a shotgun start, a distinctive live leaderboard, enhanced drone coverage, statistics-driven graphics, and fast-paced coverage featuring nearly twice as many golf shots per hour than traditional golf coverage, according to the tour.

Digital TV Research: AVOD Driving North American Streaming Video Revenue Growth

New analysis from Digital TV Research projects that North American TV episode and movie content revenue will reach $107 billion in 2028, up from $74 billion in 2022.

The United States would generate $30 billion of the $33 billion in content revenue growth, with Canada adding $3 billion.

The bulk of the grown would come through ad-supported content, according the research firm.

“North American SVOD revenue will increase by only $6 billion between 2022 and 2028 to $58 billion,” analyst Simon Murray said in a statement. “There will be a notable slowdown from 2023 mainly due to Netflix’s hybrid AVOD-SVOD tier lowering its average-revenue-per-subscriber.”

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Roku Reports Increased Q4 Subscribers, Streaming Hours as Device Sales Plummet

Subscription streaming video pioneer Roku Feb. 15 said it generated a 16% increase in active user accounts to 70 million in the fourth quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2022), from 60 million at the end of 2021. Streaming hours increased 23% to 23.9 billion hours, from 19.5 billion in the previous-year period.

San Jose, Calif.-based Roku also disclosed that its legacy consumer electronics business revenue dropped 18% to $135.8 million, from $166.4 million in the previous-year period. The devices division’s operating loss remained constant at $43.6 million, compared with an operating loss of $44 million during the previous-year period.

Average revenue per platform user grew to $41.68, up 2% from ARPU of $40.86, which is based in part on third-party SVOD revenue.

The company’s flagship free ad-supported streaming TV/AVOD platform The Roku Channel ended 2022 with 100 million U.S. households. In June, Roku launched Spanish-language programming in the U.S. with Espacio Latino, followed by Kids & Family en Español. In Q4, Roku bowed The Roku Channel to Mexico, where it has become the channel’s largest international market.

For the quarter, revenue was flat at $867 million, while the net loss ballooned to nearly $250 million, from a profit of $21.4 million in the previous-year period.

“While cyclical economic pressures are affecting our business, two things
remain true: the secular trend supporting our business remains intact, and the combination of our scale, engagement, and innovation position Roku exceptionally well to benefit when the market rebounds,” founder/CEO Anthony Wood and CFO Steve Louden wrote in the shareholder letter.

Fox Bets on FAST/AVOD Streaming After Rejecting $2 Billion Tubi Acquisition Offer

Fox Corp. has largely avoided the subscription streaming VOD market, except for its ownership of Fox News Media’s politically-driven Fox Nation SVOD service. Instead, the Rupert Murdoch-founded media giant has put more of its over-the-top video eggs into Tubi, the San Francisco-based AVOD and free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) channels platform it acquired for $440 million in 2020.

And the company seems to be committed to Tubi. CEO Lachlan Murdoch reportedly was offered $2 billion for the service and turned down the offer from an undisclosed buyer, according to Bloomberg, which cited sources familiar with the situation.

Tubi saw second-quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2022) advertising revenue increase 25% to $200 million, compared to revenue of $160 million in the previous-year period. Analyst MoffettNathanson believes Tubi will generate about $1 billion in ad revenue this year. Viewership grew more than 40% in December to more than 60 million people monthly who can log onto the platform and start streaming catalog movies and TV shows across all genres.

Tubi, along with Paramount Global’s Pluto TV, The Roku Channel, Redbox Free Live TV, Crackle, Amazon Freevee and Shout Factory TV, among others, has hitched its wagon onto the burgeoning ad-supported streaming video market that looks to replicate legacy broadcast TV on the internet.

Digital TV Research suggests that with SVOD services now rolling out lower-priced ad-supported options, global AVOD revenue for TV series and movies will reach $91 billion in 2028, up from $38 billion in 2022. The top 10 countries will represent 81% of the world’s total by 2028. By 2028, 15 platforms will generate AVOD revenue in excess of $1 billion, including six available globally, five from the United States and three from China.

“An exciting development will be the global rollout of hybrid AVOD/SVOD tiers by major platforms such as Netflix, Disney+, HBO and Paramount+,” analyst Simon Murray said in a statement. “These four platforms will generate AVOD revenue of $22.6 billion by 2028 — or a quarter of the world’s total.”

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Tubi, like other standalone AVOD platforms, is expanding content offerings to include next-day access to Fox pay-TV programming such as “The Masked Singer” competition show, while moving into original content as well.

The platform, along with The Roku Channel, recently inked content licensing deals with Warner Bros. Discovery for myriad shows, including “Westworld,” Raised by Wolves,” “Legendary,” “F-Boy Island,” “The Nevers,” “Finding Magic Mike,” “Head of the Class” and “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” among others.

“Our new WB branded FAST channels and on-demand offering will speak to each of Tubi’s distinct audience communities,” said Adam Lewinson, Tubi’s chief content officer.

Fox: Tubi Saw Quarterly Ad Revenue Jump 25%, Viewership Grow 41% in December

Fox Corp. Feb. 8 reported that its Tubi branded ad-supported VOD and free ad-supported streaming TV platform saw second-quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2022) advertising revenue increase 25% compared with the previous-year period.

Tubi, which Fox acquired in 2020 for $440 million, is projected to generate upwards of $1 billion in ad revenue this year. December recorded the highest-ever user trends for the platform, according to Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch.

“We have seen increases in almost every [key performance indicator]. including [cost per thousand], TVT and engagement,” Murdoch said on the fiscal call. “When we look at these metrics, there’s a ripeness for very significant revenue growth.”

Murdoch, who has lobbied for AVOD/FAST over SVOD since Fox sold its motion picture assets to Disney, said content creators from the big studios to independents are working with Tubi to create incremental revenue opportunities on new and catalog content.

Warner Bros. Discovery recently inked license deals for myriad shows with Tubi and The Roku Channel.

“All the major studios continue to work with us. We’re seeing a benefit of people realizing that their deep [content] libraries…we can help them monetize those libraries,” he said. “Which is why Tubi has the biggest library in movie and TV streaming.”

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At the same time, Fox recently renewed content license deals with previously-owned Hulu. Murdoch hailed the renewal as further proof of an ongoing “symbiotic’ relationship between Fox and Disney-controlled Hulu.

“As more of our [Fox] viewers watch content on a catch-up basis, we’re not monetizing our hit shows in the first window [live plus same-day] like we used to, so by being to capture viewer engagement after [that window] is critically important. And the Hulu deal allows us to do that.”

Murdoch said the agreement enables Hulu to piggyback on the marketing Fox employs on it s programming by streaming content the next day.

“So, it works very well for Hulu and it works very well for us,” he said.