Fubo Ups Q1 Subscribers, Narrows Fiscal Loss

Online sports streaming TV service Fubo May 3 reported an 18% increase in paid subscribers to 1.51 million in the first quarter (ended March 31). The platform ended the previous-year period with 1.28 million subscribers.

Quarterly revenue increased 24% to $394 million from $318 million in the prior-year period. The net loss from continuing operations narrowed 32.5% to $56.3 million, from a net loss of $83.3 million in the previous-year period.

The company’s French-based Molotov streaming TV service added almost 20,000 subscribers to end the fiscal period with 397,000 subs. Revenue increased 7% to $8.4 million, from $7.85 million in the prior-year period.

The company continues to believe in the merits of its antitrust lawsuit filed against Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery regarding the planned launch of a sports streaming joint venture app. Fubo said it remains encouraged by the public support of companies such as DirecTV and Dish, as well as a federal court’s recent decision to set a hearing date for its preliminary injunction motion. Fubo alleges Disney, Fox and WBD have conspired to force the streamer to carry non-sports content in order to license their sports rights, a move the streamer says stifles competition. In addition, the company contends it pays upwards of 50% more to license the defendants’ content than other non-streaming competitors.

“We continue to believe in the merits of our antitrust lawsuit against the sports streaming JV partners and thank those who have publicly supported us,” CEO David Gandler said in a statement. “We are encouraged by reports of the Department of Justice’s investigation and look forward to our preliminary injunction hearing in August.”

Gandler believes that if all distributors were offered fair license terms, the consumer could have multiple sports streaming options to choose from, access to just the channels they want, and at a price that’s right for them.

“We continue to operate efficiently and effectively as we execute on our mission to delight consumers with an aggregated sports entertainment offering delivered through a personalized and intuitive streaming experience,” he said.

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Roku Ups Q1 ‘Streaming Households’ 14% to 81.6 Million

Roku April 25 reported that it increased the number of “streaming households” using its internet-connected devices 14% to 81.6 million, from 71.6 million devices in the previous-year period. “Streaming households” are the number of distinct user accounts that have streamed content on the Roku platform within the last 30 days of the fiscal period.

Streaming hours increased 23% to 30.8 billion, from 25.1 billion hours during the prior year period. Average revenue per user (ARPU) remained unchanged at $40.65. The Roku platform reached U.S. households with nearly 120 million people on a daily basis in the quarter.

Roku attributed the rise in streaming viewership to the ongoing migration of live sports to SVOD platforms. This year’s Super Bowl drove sign-ups for Paramount+ through both a premium subscription in The Roku Channel and the Paramount+ DTC app on the Roku platform using the “Roku Pay” payments and billing service.

“We are focused on the large opportunity to grow the share of subscriptions on our platform that are billed through Roku Pay,” founder/CEO Anthony Wood and CFO Dan Jedda wrote in the shareholder letter.

Total net revenue increased 19% to $882 million, from $741 million. Platform revenue was $755 million, up 19%, from $634.6 million. Devices revenue increased 19% to $126.5 million, from $106.4 million.

“The Roku Channel’s ongoing growth made it the No. 3 app on our platform by both reach and engagement. This strong performance demonstrates the impact of surfacing relevant content throughout our platform,” Wood and Jedda wrote.

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Hasbro Posts Q1 Profit Following eOne Sale to Lionsgate

Hasbro’s decision to sell its eOne movie and TV show production subsidiary to Lionsgate helped the game maker return to fiscal profitability in the first quarter ended March 31.

Hasbro April 24 reported net income of $58.2 million on revenue of $757.3 million, compared with a net loss of $22.1 million on revenue of $1 billion in the previous-year period.

Entertainment segment revenue declined 85% to $28 million, from $185.4 million in the prior year. Absent the impact of the eOne transaction, segment revenue grew 65% driven by Family Brands content, including the delivery of “Peppa Pig” programming.

The entertainment segment posted an operating profit of $5.8 million compared to operating loss of $8.7 million in the first quarter of 2023. Adjusted operating profit topped $18.2 million, compared with an adjusted operating loss of $2.5 million in 2023.

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“The first quarter was a good start to the year … [as] we are continuing to see the results of our transformation work,” CEO Chris Cocks said in a statement. “Performance from our licensing portfolio shows the strength of our brands.”

Chicken Soup Grows Q1 Revenue, Fiscal Loss, But CEO Upbeat on Future Release Slate for Redbox Kiosks

Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, owner/operator of Redbox kiosks, digital retail channels, and branded FAST platforms Redbox Digital and Crackle, May 15 reported first-quarter (ended March 31) revenue of $110 million, which was up 279% from revenue of $29 million during the previous-year period. The fiscal net loss widened to $58.6 million, from a loss of $14.1 million a year ago.

CEO Bill Rouhana

While Chicken Soup CEO Bill Rouhana attributed the bigger Q1 loss to a dearth of theatrical releases available in the Redbox kiosks, he noted that the lull is over — with the May 16 arrival of Disney/Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, followed May 23 by MGM Studio’s Creed III and Paramount Home Entertainment’s Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves and 80 For Brady, in addition to Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s sci-fi thriller 65, among other big titles.

“The movies are here. We believe people will rent them on disc,” Rouhana said on the fiscal call, adding that the pending theatrical release slate to kiosks through July totals more than $2.5 billion in box office revenue. “That’s exactly what we were looking for when we took over Redbox.”

Rouhana said that thus far the disc rental business has been handicapped, with just three major theatrical releases since last August.

CFO Chris Mitchell said average-rental-per-kiosk (similar to average revenue per user in streaming) in March and April was nearly 20% higher than in January and February due to the increase in major theatrical releases available on disc.

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Rouhana said earlier guidance of achieving 30% of pre-pandemic kiosk rental revenue might seem conservative, but that threshold is all that is required to sustain disc rental as a viable business.

“So that’s what we are targeting,” he said.

Rouhana said Redbox would continue with promotions that include offering consumers returning a disc with a free rental night for a new title, as well as offering a free second disc rental with a new paid rental.

“It’s been a decent promotion, and in the end that promotion actually makes us more money than it costs us,” he said. “Sometimes, promotions appear to be discounts but actually may not be.”

Going forward, Rouhana said he would be closely monitoring consumer “sessions” involving kiosks, or the frequency of returning rental consumers. He said that if the trend doesn’t grow, he might institute a free disc rental day nationwide across more than 30,000 kiosks.

“Just to get people to go to kiosks and rent, because we don’t want to miss the opportunity to bring people back [to kiosks],” he said, adding that just bringing Redbox revenue numbers up to pre-pandemic levels shouldn’t be the endgame.

“Maybe, some kind of cool promotion might be a good way to get people back to [kiosks],” Rouhana said.

Vizio Ups Q1 Platform Ad Revenue 22% to $125.5 Million, TV Unit Sales Plummet

Vizio’s foray into ad-supported VOD entertainment programming is paying off.  The Irvine, Calif.-based consumer electronics manufacturer reported platform revenue of $125.5 million in the first quarter (ended March 31), up 22% from revenue of $102.6 million in the previous-year period.

Vizio, which was one of the CE manufacturers to launch an internet-connected “smart” television in 2010, later in 2016 bowed a proprietary SmartCast operating system for it branded TV owners.

The operating system includes apps for Netflix, YouTube, Disney+, Hulu, among others, also features the WatchFree Plus streaming service, which is aimed at retaining Vizio TV owners and jumpstarting additional revenue channels.

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SmartCast active accounts increased 12% to 17.5 million, from 15.6 million in the prior-year period. Vizio TV owners consumed almost 9 billion hours of content, up 9% from 8.2 billion hours last year. SmartCast platform hours increased 19% to 4.88 billion, from 4.11 billion.

“Our [platform] results speak to the progress we’ve made in raising awareness of Vizio as a scaled destination for advertisers to reach viewers,” CEO William Wang said in a statement.

At the same time, sales of Vizio Smart TVs took a hit in the quarter, declining 32% to 900,000 units, from 1.4 million units in the previous-year period. As a result, device revenue (which includes branded soundbars) plummeted 40% to $231.2 million from $382.9 million in the previous-year period.

The company saw its net loss narrow to $700,000 from $11 million, on revenue of $356.7 million, down 27% from revenue of $485.5 million a year ago.

Cinedigm Ups Q1 Streaming Footprint, Revenue and Loss

Cinedigm reported a first-quarter (ended June 30) net loss of $6 million on revenue of $13.5 million. That compared with a net loss of $5 million and $15 million of revenue in the previous-year period.

The home entertainment/streaming video distributor said the reduction in Cinedigm’s legacy digital cinema equipment sales, in addition to a non-operating charge of $1.3 million for the company’s investment in A Metaverse Company, contributed to the increased fiscal loss and reduced revenue.

Total streaming revenue increased 98% to $8.1 million from $4 million, driven by an increase of 131% in ad-supported revenue and a 43% increase in subscription revenue over the prior year quarter. Content and entertainment revenue of $12.2 million grew by 38% from $8.8 million — driven by organic user growth, increasing market demand for Cinedigm’s connected television ad inventory, and the launch of new streaming channels versus the prior year.

“Our results and growth show that our strategy to scale our streaming business has paid off with substantial revenue growth and other key metrics,” Erick Opeka, chief strategy officer and president of Cinedigm Networks, said in a statement.

Opeka said he expects the trend to continue as the company invests further in ad-supported video and podcasts — initiatives made possible by the distributor’s Matchpoint technology platform — which he claims affords Cinedigm the ability to execute faster, at lower cost with higher margins, and with greater insight than its competitors.

“Matchpoint provides us a complete technology stack that fully meets the needs of a rapidly growing OTT business, providing us with an unparalleled competitive advantage that allows us to adeptly operate the largest FAST channel portfolio and streaming library in the business,” Opeka said.

Lionsgate Posts Quarterly Studio Business Operating Income of $70 Million

Lionsgate Aug. 4 reported fiscal-year 2023 first-quarter (ended June 30) studio business operating income of $70 million on revenue of $711 million. That compared with operating income of $47 million on revenue of $677 million in the previous-year period.

The studio business segment includes motion pictures, sales of movies on packaged media and digital formats, in addition to television production — the latter reporting $20 million in operating income on revenue of $432 million. That compared with operating income of $3 million and revenue of $386 million in the previous-year period.

Motion picture segment revenue decreased 4% to $278.8 million, compared with $291.2 million in the prior-year quarter. The segment’s profit of $51 million (up from $44 million in 2021) reflected growth from new direct-to-streaming platform licenses and lower revenue and marketing costs associated with fewer wide release theatrical films in the quarter.

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Separately, media networks, which consists of the Starz Networks, domestic distribution of the Starz branded subscription streaming service, the Starz app, and Starzplay International outside of the United States, reported flat revenue of $381.2 million compared with $382.3 million in the prior year quarter. The business segment posted an operating loss $37 million compared with an operating profit of $88.2 million in the prior-year quarter, driven by the timing of programming amortization and marketing costs related to recent Starz original premieres. Global streaming subscribers increased 57% year-over-year to 26.3 million, from 16.7 million a year ago. Starzplay International subs grew 100% year-over-year to 14 million, from 7 million.

“We are pleased to report strong global streaming subscriber growth at Starz, another standout performance from our television group and key financial metrics in line with expectations,” CEO Jon Feltheimer said in a statement.

Sony Pictures Q1 Home Entertainment Revenue Surged 104% Thanks to ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment July 29 reported first-quarter FY 2023 revenue of $282 million for the period ended June 30. The tally was up 104% from revenue of $138 million during the previous-year period.

Notable revenue driver included the enduring Spider-Man: No Way Home, which continued to resonate with consumers on digital and packaged media the same way it had at the box office. The latest webslinger actioner generated more than $1.9 billion at the global box office, including more than $804 million across North American screens since its Dec. 15, 2021, release.

At the box office in the first quarter, Sony Pictures was led by Marvel Studios’ Morbius and Mark Wahlberg-starrer Father Stu, which generated a combined $189 million in ticket sales through June 30. Sony’s motion picture revenue topped $953 million, up 31% from $727 million in the prior-year period. In addition to home entertainment, the motion picture segment included revenue from theatrical ($116 million), television production ($151 million), streaming video licensing ($351 million) and “others” ($53 million).

Total studio operating income topped $394 million on revenue exceeding $2.6 billion. That compared with operating income of $232 million on revenue of $1.8 billion during the previous-year period.

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