TiVo Extends IP License With Fox

TiVo and Fox Corporation July 14 announced a long-term renewal of their patent license. The renewal provides Fox with continued and expanded coverage under TiVo’s patent portfolios.

“We are very pleased to conclude this agreement with Fox, a producer and distributor of content through world-leading Fox brands,” Samir Armaly, president of IP licensing at Xperi, said in a statement. “Fox has always worked to bring compelling content to its customers and continues to expand its direct-to-consumer audiences and capabilities.”

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TiVo has spent decades investing in research and development to create market-leading technologies broadly licensing them to the media and entertainment industry. TiVo’s innovations make it easier for viewers to find, watch, and enjoy all their content across a multitude of platforms.

Tubi Inks AVOD Deal for 40 Drafthouse Films

AVOD platform Tubi has inked a distribution deal with Drafthouse Films and digital distribution label Giant Pictures for nearly 40 Drafthouse Films titles now streaming with ads for free on Tubi. The collaboration marks the first time nearly all of Drafthouse’s English and foreign-language movies will be available on a single streaming service.

“Alamo Drafthouse has an undeniable reputation of giving cinephiles across the country a one-of-a-kind experience, and we can’t wait for our movie-loving audience to explore these premium indie titles,” Adam Lewinson, chief content officer of Tubi, said in a statement.

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Through June 30, Tubi will be the exclusive streaming home to 20,000 Days on EarthAmbassadorThe Act of KillingA Band Called Death, Borgman, Bullhead, Cheap Thrills, The Congress, The Dog, A Field In England, The Final Member, The FPGracelandI Declare WarKlownKlown Forever, Men & ChickenMood IndigoNothing Bad Can HappenThe Overnighters, Pieta, R100Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made, Wake In Fright, Why Don’t You Play In Hell? and Wrong.

Tubi will also be the exclusive free home to catalog titles Confetti of the Mind, Dangerous Men, Miami Connection, Ms. 45, Trailer War and The Visitor. Non-exclusive titles include Amira & Sam, The ConnectionThe Keeping Room, The Look of Silence, The Tribe and The World of Karako.

Nick Savva, GM of Giant Pictures, said the caliber of the Drafthouse catalog and the wide streaming distribution provided by Tubi is a “match made in cult movie heaven!”

Fox: Tubi AVOD Offsets Lack of Super Bowl Broadcast

Free ad-supported streaming television platform Tubi keeps paying dividends for Fox Corp. — a year after being acquired for $440 million. The AVOD service contributed to Fox generating $915 million in advertising revenue for the third quarter (ended March 31). That compared to ad-revenue of $1.26 billion in the previous-year period when Fox hosted Super Bowl LIV. Current-quarter ad revenue topped the previous non-Super Bowl period in 2019 by 11% at $812 million.

Fox doesn’t break out Tubi revenue separately, but the company expects the FAST platform to generate $1 million in incremental ad revenue in the fiscal year.

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Through nine months of the fiscal year, ad revenue is tracking at $3.4 billion, compared with $3.7 billion a year earlier.

Tubi’s viewership increased more than 30% and now reaches 40 million monthly active users. Tubi generated more than 275 million hours of total viewing in March, a monthly record for the platform. It also set a quarterly record for total view time with nearly 800 million hours streamed — up more than 50% year-over-year. Tubi streamed more than 2.5 billion hours of content.

“Contrary to the strategy of the major SVOD services, Tubi’s goal is to turbocharge certain genres of content that already make Tubi successful, and thereby allow us to super-serve certain segments of Tubi’s audience. Again, all to continue to drive engagement and therefore monetization to new heights,” CEO Lachlan Murdoch said on the fiscal call.

Murdoch said another important differentiator of Tubi’s content is live local news. Tubi recently closed deals to bring an additional 20 local new stations to the platform later this year. These added stations extend Tubi’s news reach to 24 of the top 25 markets.

“Underpinning the news on Tubi offering our live local news feeds from 18 owned and operated Fox Television Stations,” Murdoch said. “In total, news on Tubi will carry nearly 100 local station feeds in 2021 covering 58 DMAs and offering the most robust local news offering of any free streaming service.”

Tubi Streaming All ‘Friday Night Lights’ Episodes for Free

In celebration of the 15th anniversary of TV series “Friday Night Lights,” Fox Corp.-owned Tubi is streaming all episodes of the high school football-themed drama for free. From creator Peter Berg, “Friday Night Lights” aired on NBC for five seasons beginning Oct. 3, 2006. The series has aired in syndication and on streaming sites since, in addition to retailing on digital and disc — the latter from Universal Pictures and Mill Creek Entertainment.

The series starred Kyle Chandler as a high school football coach and Connie Britton as his wife in the fictional town of Dillon, Texas. The rest of the cast featured characters associated with football and high school.

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Tubi is available on Android and iOS mobile devices, Amazon Echo Show, Google Nest Hub Max, Comcast Xfinity X1, Cox Contour, and on OTT devices such as Amazon Fire TV, Vizio TVs, Sony TVs, Samsung TVs, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Android TV, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X | S2 and soon on Hisense TVs globally.

With total view time surpassing 200 million hours of content streamed each month since April, Tubi has over 30,000 movies and television shows from over 250 content partners, including every major studio. The service gives fans of films and television programs an easy way to discover new content that is available completely free.

Consumers can also watch Tubi content on the web at http://www.tubi.tv/.

Tubi to Stream ‘Barney & Friends’ Beginning April 9

Fox Corp.-owned Tubi March 25 announced it has entered into an ad-supported VOD content deal with 9 Story Distribution International Limited for six seasons of children’s series “Barney & Friends,” beginning April 9.

Tubi will offer seasons seven through nine of the live-action series, which featured Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato in their younger years, exclusively to its viewers, and will also make available seasons 10 to 12 non-exclusively.

“Barney & Friends” is the latest addition to Tubi’s library of children’s content, with upcoming April movies from the “Land Before Time” and “VeggieTales” franchises alongside several other series, including “Jumanji: The Animated Series,” “Felix the Cat,” “Underdog” and “Barbie Dreamtopia.” Additional characters include Scooby-Doo, VeggieTales, Superman, Batman, Lego Ninjago, Sonic the Hedgehog, Strawberry Shortcake, Paddington Bear, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Garfield and The Wiggles, among others.

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“Everyone’s favorite purple dinosaur is a wonderful addition to … Tubi Kids,” chief content officer Adam Lewinson said in a statement.

“Barney & Friends” originally aired from 1992 to 2009 and was one of the most popular live-action series for preschool-age boys and girls. The show celebrates the life skills of sharing, community and friendship via music and cognitive learning. In the world of Barney, sharing and caring are key, imaginations flourish and there is always a dance at every turn. Everyone’s favorite purple dinosaur and his dino-pals – Baby Bop, BJ and Riff – help give children the range of skills they need to grow, using tons of music, fun and laughs to guide the way.

Tubi Kids features a library of children’s content — nearly 2,000 age-appropriate movies and television shows or over 8,000 hours of content. A destination for age-appropriate content on the service, Tubi Kids helps alleviate parents’ worries over what their children are watching and will soon be available on all major streaming devices in the near future.

AVOD Service Tubi Adding 42 TV Shows, Movies March 15

Fox Corp.’s ad-supported streaming service Tubi is adding 42 catalog TV shows and movies, beginning March 15. San Francisco-based Tubi claims more than 200 million hours of content streamed each month since April 2020. Acquired in 2019 by Fox as a competitive alternative to Netflix and other SVODs, Tubi offers more than 30,000 movies and television shows from more than 250 content partners, including nearly every major studio.

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TV Shows

“Battlestar Galactica” (2004) – Seasons 1-2
“Battlestar Galactica” (1978) – Seasons 1-2
“Bewitched” (1964) – Seasons 1-2
“Buck Rogers” (1979) – Season 1
“Dawson’s Creek” (1998) – Seasons 1-2
“Designing Women” (1986) – Seasons 1-2
“Dominion” (2014) – Seasons 1-2
“Dracula” (2013) – Season 1
“Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” (1994) – Seasons 1-6
“Kojak” (2004) – Season 1
“Law & Order: UK” (2009) – Seasons 1-8
“Shades of Blue” (2016) – Seasons 1-3
“Telenovela” (2015) – Season 1
“Xena: Warrior Princess” (1995) – Seasons 1-4

 Movies

Action / Thriller:
Hard Target (1993)
Hard Target 2 (2016)
Last Three Days (2020)
The Guest (2014)
The Mongolian Connection (2019)
Wetware (2018)

Comedy:
Career Opportunities (1991)
Johnny English Strikes Again (2018)
Junior (1994)
Mallrats (1995)
Paper Soldiers (2002)
Problem Child (1990)

Drama:
7 Days in Entebbe (2018)
The Racer (2020)

Horror:
Alone Wolf (2020)
Attack of the Unknown (2020)
Bad Impulse (2019)
Blood Creek (2008)
Candyman (1992)
Do Not Reply (2019)
Don’t Click (2020)
Dwellers: The Curse of Pastor Strokes (2019)
Mama (2013)
The Boy (2015)
The New Daughter (2009)

Kids/Family:
Casper: A Spirited Beginning (1997)
Casper’s Scare School (2006)
Ratchet & Clank (2016)

Fox CEO: ‘We Can Win in the AVOD World’

With the exception of Fox Nation, the $5.99 monthly streaming video adjunct to Fox News, corporate parent Fox Corp. has little interest in the SVOD market. This strategy was underscored by the media company’s $71.3 billion studio assets sale to Disney in 2019.

Instead, Fox Corp.’s direct-to-consumer initiative is driven by Tubi, the San Francisco-based ad-supported VOD platform acquired 12 months ago for $440 million. The platform has skyrocketed in recognition since the acquisition in large part because Fox Entertainment is offering up its original pay-TV programming on Tubi — a first for the catalog-centric AVOD market.

“We can win in the AVOD world,” Lachlan Murdoch, CEO of Fox Corp., told investors March 4 on the virtual Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference. “We think it will be a significant growth driver for our business. We don’t want to compete in the subscription on-demand world.”

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Murdoch said that as Fox’s pay-TV business is centered around live news and sports — two areas the traditional cable bundle still has consumer leverage — the company’s digital assets, led by Tubi, will generate $1.2 billion in ad sales in 2021.

Indeed, prior to the acquisition, Tubi sold advertising around specific programming. Now, sales are incorporated within Fox Entertainment, which can cross-pollinate marketing efforts across the  company’s brands. Murdoch said Tubi was a small part of Fox’s media buyer upfronts last year, while the platform will play a major role in media selling this year.

“If you own a movie studio, a big TV studio, or you own entertainment channels, get[ting] into a D2C future as quickly as you can is incredibly important,” he said.

Murdoch said Tubi is already profitable while it invests profits back into the business to help build up its profile in an AVOD market that has renamed itself FAST (Free Ad-Supported Streaming Television), and includes The Roku Channel, Pluto TV, IMDb TV, Peacock, Crackle Plus and soon HBO Max, among others. He cited Wall Street projections that the SVOD business can generate 20%-30% margins — a percentage he feels the AVOD market can replicate in time.

“We’re not there yet, [but] we can win [with AVOD] in a much more clever and careful way,” Murdoch said.

 

Fox Looking to Generate $1 Billion in AVOD Revenue

Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch has big plans for ad-supported VOD platform Tubi. The elder son of media icon Rupert Murdoch spent much time on Fox’s Feb. 9 second-quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2020) fiscal call discussing why Tubi will help transform the AVOD market out of the shadows of the Netflix-dominated SVOD ecosystem.

Fox in 2019 acquired San Francisco-based Tubi for $440 million, about a year after ViacomCBS acquired Los Angeles-based Pluto TV for $330 million. The platforms have energized an AVOD turf war that offers viewers free access to largely catalog content without a requisite subscription or registration.

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Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch

Other AVOD platforms include Redbox Free Live TV, Shout! Factory TV, Crackle Plus, NBCUniversal’s Peacock, The Roku Channel, Amazon-owned IMDb TV and Fandango-owned Vudu. WarnerMedia’s HBO Max is launching an AVOD option later this year.

Last year, the number of OTT video services used per household per month rose to more than 7.2 in the United States, according to new data from London-based research firm Omdia. While the increase in online video usage has been driven by an uptick in SVOD services, this has also led to a rise in AVOD use.

In 2020, AVOD platforms in the U.S. collectively generated nearly 200 million active monthly users. Not only did monthly users increase, but so did the frequency of viewing, highlighting a greater conversion rate to daily usage, according to analyst Fateha Begum.

“AVOD users show a high propensity to consume content; they are content hungry, not cost conscious,” Begum said. “As AVOD services grow in popularity and improve their content offering and device accessibility, paid services will have to work harder.”

Indeed, Murdoch sees AVOD showcasing a new marketing channel for brands deploying targeted spots to tens of millions of video-bingeing eyeballs. Across Fox’s digital properties in 2020, usage was up 100%, advertising increased 70%, and active monthly usage increased 70%.

“In the coming years, we envision Tubi becoming a $1 billion business and a core pillar of Fox,” Murdoch said. “The business will ultimately become a very profitable one for us.”

Murdoch said that unlike other media companies, i.e. WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal, Disney and ViacomCBS, spending billions launching SVOD platforms and original content is a non-starter. He said Fox is focusing on AVOD to expand distribution of existing episodic content.

“We see the SVOD competitive set as the potential to lose very many billions of dollars,” Murdoch said. “We see it is very crowded. We see it is very hard to stand apart and differentiate ourselves within SVOD. And that’s why we’ve really chosen to embrace AVOD as our direct-to-consumer strategy.”

New data from eMarketer found Tubi streamed 2.5 billion hours of content, including 30,000 titles, to 33 million monthly active users  in 2020.  About 48% of total Tubi viewers don’t subscribe to pay-TV — including 58% of 18- to 34-year-olds. eMarketer projects streaming video use to outpace pay-TV  by 2023, when access to 64.4 million households will exclusively default to streaming video.

As an ad strategy, the majority of Tubi users are incremental to linear and other AVOD platforms — but apparently loyal to the brand, according to the research firm. About 80% of its viewers can’t be reached across the top 25 cable TV networks. More than 68% don’t sample other AVODs, and 64% can’t be reached across other Fox Entertainment channels.

“We expect to win in AVOD and be the leading AVOD player in this country,” Murdoch said. “We expect to be able to do it by reinvesting our profits, but not by losing billions of dollars in programming costs or other costs in the time it takes to breakeven.”

 

Tubi, Political Ads Up Fox Corp. Q2 TV Revenue

Fox Corp. Feb. 9 reported second-quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2020) television segment revenue of $2.56 billion, up 13% ($290 million) from the previous-year period of $2.27 billion. Fox attributed the uptick to increases in advertising and affiliate revenue.

Advertising revenue increased $168 million, or 10%, to $1.84 billion, primarily due to record political advertising revenue and the impact of the consolidation of Tubi. Fox acquired the ad-supported VOD platform in 2019 for $440 million to compete against ViacomCBS’s Pluto TV and ongoing advertising migration to connected TVs.

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Fox has aggressively marketed Tubi with access to original Fox content, including “The Masked Singer,” “The Masked Dancer” and “Name That Tune,” among other programming. Tubi Feb. 12 will exclusively stream Sundance Film Festival nominee Beast Beast. The AVOD is in the midst of a week-long promotional campaign with third-party vendors such as Postmates, Vizio, AdAge, “The Ellen Degeneres Show” and Roku.

The television segment reported a quarterly pre-tax loss of $185 million, an improvement of $29 million from the $214 million loss reported in the prior year quarter. The increase in expenses was primarily due to higher programming rights amortization at Fox Sports, led by contractual rights increases for NFL content, and the impact of the consolidation of Tubi, partially offset by the postponement of certain scripted programming at Fox Entertainment due to COVID-19.

The cable network programming segment, which includes Fox News, reported pre-tax income of $571 million, an increase of $15 million, or 3%, from the $556 million reported in the prior year quarter, primarily due to the revenue increases. Revenue increased 1% ($19 million) to $1.49 billion as higher advertising revenue were largely offset by lower affiliate and other revenues due to COVID-19.

“Once again, the company delivered exceptional operating and financial results,” CEO Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement. “Fox Television Stations, Fox News Media and Tubi all experienced record highs in the quarter, led by an unprecedented political advertising cycle at our local television stations, strong digital growth at Fox News Media and an influx of new advertisers at Tubi.”

Fox Rolling Out ‘Free Like Tubi’ Weeklong AVOD Promotion

Tubi, the AVOD platform Fox Corp. acquired in 2019 for $440 million, is mounting a week-long promotional campaign — dubbed Free Like Tubi — with third-party services and consumer electronics manufacturers, to attract viewer eyeballs.

Beginning Feb. 8, Tubi will sponsor ad-free listening through the week on streaming music provider Pandora. Listeners will have free “Video Plus Access” throughout the week. Tubi will give mobile app players free rewards on mobile game provider Zynga if users watch and engage with sponsored Tubi video content.

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Additional cross promotions include unlocking the paywall on Ad Age and giving readers complimentary access. Beginning Feb. 9, Tubi and Postmates will launch a “National Pizza Day” partnership to celebrate the special day and Free Like Tubi Week in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. On Feb. 10, Tubi will host free Amazon Fire TV 4K with Alexa Voice Remote device giveaways.

On Feb. 11, Tubi will partner with “The Ellen Degeneres Show,” where one audience player takes a popcorn quiz and goes on a search for the correct title in a huge bucket of popcorn. Additionally, 100 winners on Ellen’s IG (@theellenshow) stories will receive Visa gift cards courtesy of Tubi.

On Feb. 13, Tubi will give away one Vizio 55-inch V-series SmartCast TV and one Vizio V-series V21-H8 Soundbar. The next day, Tubi and Spotlight Cinema Networks will celebrate Valentine’s Eve with free concessions for the first 20 moviegoing cars at the Arena Cinemalounge in Hollywood, The Frida Cinema in Los Angeles, as well as the Skyline Drive-In and Plaza Cinema & Media Arts Center in New York City.

Tubi will host free Roku Express device giveaways on Feb. 14. On Feb. 15, to wrap up the campaign, Guillermo from “Jimmy Kimmel Live” will treat the audience to free giveaways. Additional swag giveaways include “The Masked Singer” (@MaskedSingerFox), “The Masked Dancer” (@MaskedDancerFox) and “Name That Tune” (@NameThatTune).