Fox: Tubi Ups Q3 Revenue, Costs; Fox Nation Sees SVOD Sub Growth

Fox Corp. continues to put much of its digital future on the shoulders of ad-supported Tubi and subscription streaming service Fox Nation — with positive results.

The media giant May 10 reported that television segment advertising revenue increased $54 million to $969 million, from $915 million in the previous-year period, primarily due to continued growth at Tubi, which Fox acquired in 2020 for $440 million.

Additional factors positively affecting ad revenue included continued strength in pricing at the Fox Network, and the impact of the additional week to the NFL regular season, partially offset by the absence of the rotating NFL Divisional playoff game in the current year quarter and softer entertainment ratings at the Fox Network.

At the same time, operating segment income plummeted almost 75% to $35 million, compared with the $135 million in the prior year quarter due to higher expenses. The increase in expenses primarily reflects increased digital investment at Tubi and higher programming rights amortization and production costs at Fox Sports, as well as an approximately $30 million write-down of certain scripted programming at Fox Entertainment.

“Our topline growth in the quarter was propelled by pricing strength in both distribution and advertising revenue across our leadership brands, complemented by the powerful momentum we continue to see at Tubi,” Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Fox Nation, the company’s branded politically themed subscription streaming service, helped the company’s cable segment increase “other” revenue 22.5% to $140 million, from $120 million in the prior-year period. Fox attributed the increase in part to the timing of sports sublicensing revenue, which were impacted by COVID-19 in the prior year quarter, and higher Fox Nation subscription revenue.

Fox has not revealed Fox Nation subscriber data since launching the $5.99 monthly SVOD in 2018.

Tubi Expands Nielsen Relationship for Ad Ratings

Tubi April 29 announced that it is working on an expansion of its current integration with Nielsen that will allow for enhanced and comprehensive measurement through the latter’s digital ad ratings product. As part of this integration, measurement of Tubi will expand coverage of streaming devices, including computer, mobile and connected TV (CTV) inventory served on specific CTV devices.

This aims to give advertisers a more comprehensive view of ad performance on Tubi, inclusive of co-viewing.

Tubi’s contends the integration with Nielsen will advance advertiser need for third-party measurement in the fast-growing ad-supported OTT space, with measurement and transaction in line with traditional TV audiences. Tubi’s expanded relationship with Nielsen will include co-viewing measurement and allow for buying target audiences across its library of more than 40,000 movies and television series.

“As a movie and television streaming service with 80% of our viewers watching on TV screens, we’re excited about the proposed integration of Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings measurement across our device partners,” Mark Rotblat, chief revenue officer at Tubi, said in a statement. “This upcoming device coverage replaces slim proxies with comprehensive and stable currency-grade measurement, allowing our advertisers to transact on audiences in a way that is apples-to-apples with traditional TV.”

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With the proposed Nielsen DAR integration on Tubi, brands can now leverage deeper contextual insights and align brand objectives with the thousands of movies and television titles audiences consume. Additionally, advertisers will be able to better understand the demographic and interest-based attributes of an audience.

“In this increasingly fragmented media landscape, the need for independent measurement is more critical than ever, as is providing more transparency to advertisers,” said Ameneh Atai, GM of digital audience measurement at Nielsen.

Fox Acquires Animated ‘Gumby’ Rights Across Linear TV, AVOD

Fox Entertainment Feb. 10 announced it has acquired the animated character Gumby, and all his friends, from the estate of Joseph Clokey, son of Gumby creator Art Clokey. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition expands on Fox’s long-term strategy of building a select, curated library of owned content and intellectual property to showcase across its linear, AVOD, i.e., Tubi, blockchain-based and other platforms.

Fox obtained all rights to the enduring franchise, including film, television and streaming, consumer products, licensing, publishing and all other categories. In addition, the media company acquired the full library of “Gumby” animated series, specials, movies and content, which will expand Tubi’s current offerings of the franchise.

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This well-known IP complements other recent acquisitions and partnerships, including Tubi, Bento Box Entertainment, Studio Ramsay Global, TMZ, MarVista Entertainment and start-up company Blockchain Creative Labs, as well as Fox Alternative Entertainment and the newly formed Fox Entertainment Studios.

“Competition for globally recognized intellectual property is fierce,” Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier said in a statement. Uncovering this gem, with its built-in awareness and affinity adds meaningful value and creative possibilities to the IP itself and to multiple divisions of our company.”

Internal teams are already hard at work both showcasing the classic “Gumby” series on Tubi and reimagining the franchise for broadcast, streaming and beyond.

Tubi Inks Film Distribution Deal With Village Roadshow

Fox Entertainment’s free ad-supported streaming service, Tubi, Dec. 14 announced a film distribution deal with Village Roadshow Entertainment Group to produce multiple films from Village Roadshow’s newly announced “Black Noir Cinema” initiative.

Upcoming feature films and Tubi Originals Cinnamon and Murder City will be produced by Village Roadshow, alongside NBA MVP and cross-over talent Kevin Garnett and his Content Cartel (“Uncut Gems”), and iconic director and producer Oz Scott (“Black Lightning,” “S.W.A.T.”).

Since its launch in 1986, Village Roadshow has produced more than 100 movies, including co-productions with Warner Bros. Pictures for “The Matrix,” “Sherlock Holmes,” “Happy Feet” and “Oceans” franchises, The Lego Movie and Joker. Village Roadshow’s titles have achieved 34 No. 1 U.S. box office openings, 50 Oscar nominations, 19 wins and six Golden Globe Awards.

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“Fox Entertainment has a longstanding history of diversity in the stories we tell and characters we showcase, and we’re honored to build on that legacy by welcoming independent film giant Village Roadshow to create this dynamic, new content for our growing Tubi audience,” Michael Thorn, president of entertainment at Fox Entertainment, said in a statement. “Collaborating with Village Roadshow; our friend and colleague, Steve Mosko; and talent of Kevin and Oz’s caliber further elevates Tubi’s expanding portfolio of premium original programming.”

One of the first original films from the deal, Cinnamon, follows a struggling small-town gas station attendant with big dreams, whose life is sent into a tailspin after a fatal crime in this intersecting crime thriller. The film is in pre-production with casting underway and is scheduled to begin shooting early next year in Atlanta.

Separately, Mike Colter (“Evil”), headlines Murder City, a contemporary crime story following a disgraced former cop who finds himself working for a ruthless female kingpin to pay off his estranged father’s debt and protect his family.

“As we continue to grow Tubi’s original content offerings, we remain focused on spotlighting emerging talent and celebrating fresh, authentic storytelling that reflects diverse experiences and perspectives to better serve our current audience, nearly half of which is comprised of viewers who self-identify as multicultural,” said Adam Lewinson, Tubi’s chief content officer.

Tubi Bows ’12 Days of Tubi’ Winter Holiday Campaign

With the winter holidays ramping up, Tubi, Fox Entertainment’s ad-supported free streaming service, is treating users to “12 Days of Tubi,” a promotional campaign to win swag, devices and other freebies.

The promotion, which began Dec. 13, gives daily viewers on Tubi’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter handles a chance to win devices from Amazon Fire TV, Google TV and TiVo, as well as swag from Tubi, Fox and Fox Sports. Prizes are given through Friday, Dec. 24.

Tubi swag includes branded Christmas sweaters, socks, Tubi Original “The Freak Brothers” swag, Tubi Original “A Chance for Christmas” kits and gingerbread houses. Fox and Fox Sports prizes include “The Masked Singer” puzzles.

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The promotion is open to legal U.S. residents physically residing in the U.S./DC only. Must be at least 18 years of age. Limit one entry per day.  Odds/ Rules: 

Acquired by Fox for $440 million in 2020, Tubi features more than 35,000 movies and TV shows, including a growing library of original programming; more than 65 local and live news and sports channels, and more than 250 entertainment partners, including content from nearly every major Hollywood studio.

Tubi Now Streaming on LG Smart Televisions

Fox Entertainment’s ad-supported streaming service Tubi is now available on LG smart-TVs, including OLED models, in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Australia. LG smart-TV users now have direct access to Tubi’s library of 35,000 movies and television series from more than 250 content partners, including every major studio, in addition to free live local and national news channels. With the addition of LG, Tubi is now distributed on 29 different platforms.

LG smart-TV users can access Tubi on the “Launcher Bar” of the TV’s webOS platform, with the Tubi catalog soon fully integrated into LG’s on-device search. Tubi also is accessible by saying “Tubi” into the “LG Magic Remote.”

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Tubi originals include episodes of animated adult humor series “The Freak Brothers,” premiering every Sunday through December. The all-star voice cast includes Emmy winner and Oscar nominee Woody Harrelson, Emmy and Golden Globe winner John Goodman, Emmy and Grammy winner Tiffany Haddish, and Pete Davidson.

Viewers also can view recently launched Tubi originals “Swim,” starring Joey Lawrence, and “Tales of a Fifth Grade Robin Hood,” starring Jon Lovitz. Viewers will soon have access to original documentaries from Fox Alternative Entertainment; animated titles from Fox’s animation studio, Bento Box Entertainment; and independent-minded titles across the Black cinema, thriller, horror, sci-fi, romance and Western genres.

In December, movies streaming include The Social Network and Silence of the Lambs, The Cat in the Hat and Where the Wild Things Are, in addition to unconventional Christmas fare such as Die Hard 2 and Black Christmas.

Tubi, which Fox acquired in 2020 for $440 million, is available on Android and iOS mobile devices, Amazon Echo Show, Google Nest Hub, and on OTT devices such as Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, GoogleTV, Vizio TVs, Sony TVs, Samsung TVs, Hisense TVs, Comcast X1, Cox Contour, PlayStation 4 and 5, and Xbox One and Series X | S.

Tubi Says ‘The Freak Brothers’ Most-Watched Program on Platform

Tubi, the AVOD/free ad-supported streaming television platform owned and operated by Fox Entertainment, said the premiere episode of original animated series “The Freak Brothers” was the most-watched program on the platform since its Nov. 14 debut.

Based on the cult underground comic series, and featuring the voices of Woody Harrelson, John Goodman, Tiffany Haddish and Pete Davidson, among others, “Brothers” delivered 80% more viewers than the next closest series on Tubi.

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“[The show] is a result of the synthesis between great content, stellar cast, superb marketing, new viewer engagement and organic viewership driven by our content personalization engine,” Adam Lewinson, chief content officer, said in a statement.

Since acquiring Tubi in 2020 for $440 million, Fox has doubled down on AVOD/FAST distribution as a less-expensive alternative to subscription streaming spearheaded by Netflix. Fox contends Tubi can soon generate upwards of $1 billion in annual advertising revenue as over-the-top video slowly supplants legacy pay-TV.

Indeed, Fox this month reported that first-quarter fiscal-year 2022 (ended Sept. 30) ad revenue increased 17% to $1.13 billion, from $969 million in the previous-year period.

CEO Lachlan Murdoch attributed the increase in part to the company’s focus on free ad-supported streaming TV and the return of a full schedule of live sports and more scripted programming compared with the postponements and cancellations in the prior year quarter as a result of the pandemic.

“We remain focused on bolstering our core brands and leveraging the unique assets that distinguish us to further propel growth and drive value for our shareholders,” Murdoch said on the fiscal call.

Tubi Kicks Off LatinX Heritage Month With Original Programming

Tubi, Fox Entertainment’s ad-supported FAST streaming platform, announced the premiere original soccer comedy Domingo and dramatic thriller La Dosis as part of its LatinX Heritage Month programming, beginning Sept. 17, as the platform continues to build on the success of Tubi en Español and cater to its Spanish-speaking audiences.

Domingo is Tubi’s first-ever Spanish-language original movie, and Mexican director Raúl López Echeverría’s feature debut with Samuel Goldwyn Films and Picture Tree International. Viewers will also be treated to a curated selection of Spanish and English-language titles, from “El Chicano” and “Desierto” to “¿Quién es la Máscara?,” “Devious Maids” and “La Bamba.”

The movie tells the story of Domingo (Eduardo Covarrubias, “Bajo Tierra”), a man of 55 living in a poor suburb near Guadalajara. When his wife (Imelda Sánchez) abruptly leaves him, he decides to do everything in his power to realize his lifelong dream of becoming a professional soccer commentator. He soon realizes how much his impassioned weekly commentaries on local amateur matches are changing lives throughout his neighborhood.

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Domingo was inspired from observing working-class districts in the suburbs of Guadalajara, where football grounds are a central part of the community and dear to the inhabitants’ hearts. The film will also have a local premiere in competition at the Guadalajara International Film Festival, and will screen as part of the TIFF industry Selects line-up.

La Dosis follows Marcos (Carlos Portaluppi, “Vidas Robadas”), an experienced ICU nurse in a provincial Argentine clinic who begins to suspect that his charismatic coworker is murdering patients. La Dosis is directed by Martin Kraut (“Luisa”) and also stars Ignacio Rogers (“Sabado Uno”), German de Silva (“Wild Tales”) and Arturo Bonin (“Looney Love”).

Tubi Sponsors Fox NFL Postgame Show ‘The OT’

Fox Entertainment continues to aggressively market its ad-supported FAST platform Tubi, incorporating the platform as presenting sponsor of the network’s Sept. 12 postgame “The OT” segment following the “NFL on Fox” first-week televised game between the Denver Broncos and the New York Giants.

Fox Corp., unlike other media companies, has eschewed the subscription VOD business in favor of Tubi, which it acquired for $440 million in 2019. Seeking the platform as a digital extension of its ad-supported TV network, Fox is hoping to generate $350 million in incremental revenue in 2021 — $1 billion annually in the next few years.

To do that, Tubi needs viewer eyeballs. Millions of them.

At the end of the fiscal year (June 30), Tubi surpassed 3 billion hours streamed, up more than 50% over the prior year. During the recent quarter, total view time surpassed 900 million hours, up more than 40% over the prior-year quarter.

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Driving the increased viewership: Primetime TV content, including the first digital access to Fox reality competition series “The Masked Singer” and “Lego Masters,” among others.

“I cannot emphasize enough the importance of total view time as the critical metric for ad supported streaming,” CEO Lachlan Murdoch said on the company’s latest fiscal call. “It is the best measure of burgeoning engagement on Tubi and correlates directly to the monetization of the platform.”

Last month, Tubi and Fox Sports announced the launch of “Sports on Tubi” in the U.S., affording viewers access to 10 live streaming channels for different sports, including professional football, baseball, soccer, collegiate sports from the ACC and Pac-12 Conferences, as well as nearly 700 hours of VOD content.

Tubi Announces Original Movie ‘Corrective Measures’ With Bruce Willis

As part of its original content rollout strategy, Tubi Sept. 8 announced the future original movie release Corrective Measures, a sci-fi action movie starring Bruce Willis and Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy, The Suicide Squad, “The Walking Dead”) is set for release on the ad-supported VOD platform in spring 2022.

Based on a graphic novel, Corrective Measures is written, directed and produced by Sean Patrick O’Reilly (Howard Lovecraft, The Kingdom of Madness) and is set in San Tiburon, the world’s most dangerous maximum-security penitentiary and home to the world’s most treacherous superpowered criminals.

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Todd Masters of MastersFX (Predator, Child’s Play, Legion) will head the character and creature design. Produced by Arcana Productions and executive-produced by The Exchange. Jas Boparai, Corey Large, Johnny Messner and Steven Eads serve as executive producers. Michelle O’Reilly serves as producer.

“We’re excited to be harnessing the creative talent of Sean Patrick O’Reilly, Bruce Willis, Michael Rooker and Todd Masters to bring this celebrated comic book series to life,” Adam Lewinson, chief content officer at Tubi, said in a statement.

The Ubermax prison, hidden in the Great Northwest, houses monsters, cyborgs, and supervillains, all equipped with 24-hour power inhibitors and shock-collars. Most notorious among them is Julius “The Lobe” Loeb (Willis), a super genius sitting on an untraceable fortune. Warden Devlin (Rooker) is arguably as corrupt as his charges, with his sole interest in The Lobe’s riches, and has been trying to crack The Lobe for years without success.

The fragile peace of the prison is thrown into chaos with the arrival of Payback (Dan Payne, “Watchmen”), a murderous vigilante with red intentions on the entire prison community, and Diego Diaz (Brennan Mejia, “Power Rangers”), a driver on a trumped-up sentence. As tensions among the inmates and staff heighten, anarchy engulfs the prison and order is turned upside down.

Nat McCormick of The Exchange negotiated the deal and will be selling the movie at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Over the coming year, more than 140 hours of all-new content are set to debut on Tubi, including original documentaries from Fox Alternative Entertainment; animated titles from Fox Entertainment’s Emmy Award-winning animation studio, Bento Box Entertainment; and premium independent-minded titles across the black cinema, thriller, horror, sci-fi, romance and Western genres.