Crackle Plus Launches FAST Channels on FuboTV

Crackle Plus, a Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment company and an operator of advertising-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) streaming services, has launched its Crackle and Popcornflix FAST channels on FuboTV’s platform in the United States. 

FuboTV’s audience will gain access to the Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment content library, including the college thriller series “In the Vault.” Viewers will also gain access to action shows from Popcornflix such as the feature films Godzilla: King of the Monsters (1956) and Jackie Chan’s Little Big Soldier as well as the two-part limited series Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island

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“We are so excited to bring our constantly expanding content offering to FuboTV viewers,” president of Crackle Plus Philippe Guelton said in a statement. “Our advertising and marketing partners will now access new audiences through the launch of the Crackle and Popcornflix FAST channels on FuboTV.”

Other Crackle Plus recent releases include the popular sketch comedy series “Funny Girls”; the exclusive scripted series “Les Norton,” which stars Alexander Bertram and Rebel Wilson; “Inside the Black Box,” hosted by Joe Morton; and the BBC series “Sherlock,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. The company also recently announced season three of the series “Going From Broke.”

The Crackle Plus streaming services are currently distributed through 85 touch points in the United States on platforms including Amazon Fire TV, RokuTV, Apple TV, Smart TVs (Samsung, LG, Vizio), gaming consoles (PS4 and Xbox One), Plex, iOS and Android mobile devices and on desktops at Crackle.com.

FuboTV Added 185,000 Subs in Q4, Ended 2021 With 1.13 Million

Online TV platform FuboTV Feb. 23 said it added 185,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter, to end the fiscal year (Dec. 31, 2021) with 1.13 million subscribers. The sport-themed streamer generated record annual revenue of $638 million total revenue, including $1 million from the 2021 acquisition of Molotov. Excluding Molotov, annual revenue increased 244% from $261 million in 2020. Paid subscriptions increased 206% from 548,500 subs in 2020.

FuboTV also reported higher unit economics during the quarter and benefited from inherent operating leverage as its customer base scaled. Adjusted Contribution Margin (ACM) was positive 9.7% for full year 2021, an increase of 104 basis points when compared to the company’s normalized full year 2020 ACM. Lower subscriber acquisition costs, strong marketing discipline and a lifted attach rate to 2.5 were all achieved, contributing to the company’s path towards profitability.

The streamer also released revenue and subscriber guidance for 2022, broken down by North America and Rest of World (ROW), including France (Molotov) and Spain. Within North America, the company forecasts first-quarter 2022 revenue of $232 million to $237 million and full-year 2022 revenue of $1.08 billion to $1.09 billion, which projects topping the $1 billion threshold for the first time.

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North America subscribers are expected to reach 1.028 million to 1.033 million in the first quarter of 2022, and 1.5 million to 1.51 million for the full year. Within ROW, the company forecasts first quarter 2022 revenue of $3 million to $6 million and full year 2022 revenue of $15 million to $20 million. ROW subscribers are expected to reach 235,000 to 240,000 in the first quarter of 2022 and 270,000 to 280,000 for the full year. Note that this guidance does not include any projected revenues from online sports wagering.

“Engagement continues to be strong as we add differentiated content to our offering and focus on innovating our product to meet consumer preferences,” David Gandler, co-founder/CEO, said in a statement.

Gandler said the brand’s expansion into real-money wagering remains ongoing with the launch of the Fubo Sportsbook across two states with additional states expected to follow this year.

“This launch represents a differentiated and industry-first integration of streaming and a sports wagering product, and we see ourselves in the very early innings of a massive opportunity,” he said.

FuboTV Acquires Streaming Rights for South American Qatar World Cup 2022 Qualifying Matches

FuboTV, the sports-themed online TV platform, has acquired the exclusive live streaming rights to the Qatar World Cup 2022 Qualifying matches of South American Football Confederation.

Soccer’s quadrennial World Cup is arguably the largest televised sporting event globally over the course of month-long run — and qualifying matches this year are a hot commodity.

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The agreement, a partnership with the 10 South American country teams’ rights holders, features the top four teams competing within CONMEBOL, one of FIFA’s six continental confederations, qualifying for Qatar. In addition to CONMEBOL, FuboTV will stream qualifying matches through its carriage of other channel partners. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Specifically, FuboTV has live streaming rights for 70 matches scheduled to begin in June, with several additional matches into early 2022, featuring both English and Spanish commentary

The platform will produce original programming, including pre, half-time and post match shows, to air throughout the season. Specific details on programming, including how consumers can stream all South American qualifying matches with FuboTV, and on-air talent will be announced later.

“By offering the best of South American soccer in advance of Qatar 2022, we are further differentiating FuboTV’s sports-first content portfolio enabling us to engage with more consumers than ever before,” David Gandler, co-founder/CEO of FuboTV, said in a statement.

 

FuboTV Inks Deal With Marquee Sports Network for Cubs Game Coverage

FuboTV and Marquee Sports Network have entered into a carriage agreement that will bring Chicago Cubs game coverage to the live TV streaming platform in the coming weeks.

Through FuboTV, subscribers throughout the Marquee Sports Network territory will have access to all Marquee programming, including all non-nationally televised regular season Chicago Cubs games, pregame and postgame shows, exclusive content and original programming. The regional sports network (RSN) will be available in FuboTV’s basic English language channel package in the Chicago area and surrounding regions, including Indianapolis, South Bend and Des Moines.

Fans can stream FuboTV on Android and iOS smartphone and tablets, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Android Smart TVs, Apple TV and Apple’s TV app, Chromecast, Hisense Smart TVs, Roku, Samsung Smart TVs, Xbox One’s family of devices and the web.

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In addition to the Marquee Sports Network, FuboTV includes more than 50,000 live sporting events annually — many streaming in 4K. The agreement also increases FuboTV’s local coverage in Chicago, where it already carries ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Telemundo and Univision affiliates alongside national sports networks ESPN, FS1, CBS Sports Network, Big Ten Network, MLB Network, NBA TV, NFL Network and NHL Network, among others.

“We are thrilled to have FuboTV offering Marquee Sports Network to Cubs fans. FuboTV has prioritized live sports and we look forward to them carrying Cubs baseball all season long,” said Marquee Sports Network GM Mike McCarthy in a statement.

“As we kick off the hotly anticipated 2021 baseball season, fuboTV is thrilled to bring consumers Marquee Sports Network’s extensive coverage of the Chicago Cubs,” FuboTV’s SVP of content strategy and acquisition, Ben Grad said in a statement. “The addition of Marquee Sports Network to our leading sports, news and entertainment portfolio makes FuboTV a great streaming choice for Cubs fans, as well as other Chicagoans looking to cut the cord.”

“We’re excited to add Marquee Sports Network and their coverage of the Chicago Cubs to FuboTV,” FuboTV co-founder and CEO David Gandler said in a statement. “Our Fubo Gaming subsidiary is headquartered in Chicago, and the midwest market, particularly Indiana and Iowa where we recently closed market access agreements, will be a key cluster for our gaming strategy in the future.”

Comcast Discloses 9.3% Stake in Fubo TV

Comcast has acquired a 9.3% minority stake in fubo TV, the online TV subscription service featuring live sports and soon gambling. The corporate parent to NBCUniversal and Peacock and Xumo streaming services disclosed the stake in a Feb. 12 fiscal filing. Other media company co-owners include Disney and ViacomCBS.

Fubo TV, which launched an IPO last year, has been on a rollercoaster for investors as its stock fluctuates wildly (up 275%) on market speculation. Driving the interest is sports wagering. Fubo, like Disney, Fox and others, is looking to appeal to more than live-sports streamers through legalized gambling.

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Fubo entered 2021 with about 545,000 subscribers paying from $65 monthly for access to more than 100 channels, including 40 sports-themed. The six-year-old service last year acquired Balto Sports, a backend developer of fantasy sports gaming software. Last month, fubo expanded to sports gambling by acquiring Vigtory, an interactive sports gaming company.

The moves don’t excite Richard Greenfield, media analyst with Lightshed Partners, who contends Fubo is just another online TV service struggling to compete in a market led by Hulu+Live TV, AT&T TV and Dish-owned Sling TV. Hulu has about 4 million subs, while industry pioneer Sling has slightly more than half that.

Online TV launched in 2015 as way for pay-TV operators to compete against Netflix and the rising tide of over-the-top video distributors. Despite initial success, Sling has struggled to retain subscribers. Sony shuttered PlayStation Vue, while AT&T rebooted DirecTV Now with AT&T TV.

“Fubo TV is not Netflix, Fubo is not Flutter/FanDuel, DraftKings nor even Penn/Barstool Sports, Fubo is not Roku and Fubo is not Trade Desk,” Greenfield, Brandon Ross and Mark Kelley wrote in a December post. “Fubo is simply just another virtual multichannel video programming distributor facing the same obstacles and financial challenges as every other [online TV platform].”

 

Streaming Media’s Growing Interest in Legalized Gambling

Live sports and gambling have a long co-dependent relationship, which has been expanding beyond casinos to over-the-top video — especially during a pandemic. But the wheels in motion began years before the coronavirus kept gamblers away from Las Vegas and Atlantic City, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 striking down a federal anti-sports gambling law.

Fox Sports became the first major media company in the U.S. to acquire a stake in sports gambling after paying $236 million for a 5% ownership of The Stars Group.

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“Digital sports wagering represents a growing market opportunity that allows us to diversify our revenue streams, connect directly with consumers and expand the reach of the Fox Sports brand,” said Eric Shanks, CEO of Fox Sports.

Fox Bet Super 6 just added nearly 3 million players during the just-ended NFL season, bringing its user base to more than 4.3 million players. It claims to be the biggest free-to-play online game of its kind in the country. The platform also seeks to entice non-sports fans with wagers on the recent Georgia U.S. Senate runoffs, the stock market and a weekly quiz.

Speaking on the Feb. 9 fiscal call, Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch said Fox Bet aims to be more than an online gambling site. The platform is rolling out in states that have legalized wagering, including most recently Michigan on Jan. 26. Fox also owns a 18.5% stake in FanDuel, the daily fantasy and online sports book.

“A key differentiator for Fox Bet has been across promotional power of all of Fox’s assets to ignite the Fox Bet brand,” Murdoch said. The executive said sports gambling factors into ongoing distribution negotiations for NFL games.

“The NFL is very aware of the importance of sports wagering, I’m sure to us, I’m sure to sort of others as well,” Murdoch said.

FanDuel in 2019 inked a deal with fubo TV, making it the exclusive sports book, online casino, horse racing and DFS (distributed file system) partner of the TV streaming service. The agreement was FanDuel Group’s first partnership with an online TV service aimed at expanding fubo TV’s sports offering for consumers while integrating betting data on the platform.

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“We are always looking for ways to add value for consumers and enhance their premium experience with fuboTV,” said Min Kim, VP of business development at Fubo. “Gaming and sports are natural complements.”

Adam Kaplan, VP of content business & operations at FanDuel, said the company’s data analytics will change how people watch live sports on TV and the Internet.

“We can enhance the live-viewing experience by allowing cord-cutting sports fans to view the content that matters to them the most from their TV, phone, tablet or computer,” Kaplan said.

But FanDuel’s relationship with fubo TV could change as the latter branches out into its own sports gambling. The 6-year-old service last year acquired Balto Sports, a backend developer of fantasy sports gaming software. Last month, fubo TV expanded to live sports by acquiring Vigtory, an interactive sports gaming company.

The valuations around sports betting operators are so huge, why not take a punt on being one?” said Andy Clerkson, an advisor for Fox Bet and partner at Red Knot Communications, a gambling PR firm. “You could be a super-affiliate worth hundreds of millions. Or you could try and be an operator worth billions.”

The Motley Fool’s Rick Munarriz contends fubo TV can open the “spigot of sports gambling” without raising eyebrows the way  Google or Disney might with regulators.

“Fubo TV can go places where others can’t,” Munarriz wrote.

Disney-owned ESPN has partnerships with Caesars Entertainment, offering sport-betting-related content on ESPN and ESPN+, the brand’s SVOD platform.

“The sports betting landscape has changed, and fans are coming to us for this kind of information more than ever before,” said Mike Morrison, VP of business development at ESPN. “We are poised to expand our coverage in a big way.”

WarnerMedia Entertainment inked a deal with Caesars Entertainment to build a branded Vegas studio for its Bleacher Report (B/R) platform.

Regardless of its legality, Disney remains defensive to deflect the family-based media giant’s tacit support for gambling.

“We’ve already done some [gambling-related] things that we would integrate it into our programming, but not to the extent that we would be facilitating gambling as an entity,” former CEO Bob Iger said in 2019. “In other words, we’ll provide programming that will, I guess, be designed to enlighten people who are betting on sports. But that’s as far as we would go. We just don’t intend to go into the gambling business.”

FuboTV Betting Big on Next Year’s Super Bowl LVI

If sports gambling has a national holiday, it’s the annual Super Bowl. Americans are expected to will legally bet more than $500 million on Sunday’s Super Bowl LV between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs nationwide, up 67% from the estimated $300 million wagered in 2020, according to PlayUSA. Overall, the American Gaming Association estimates Americans bet $6.8 billion on last year’s Super Bowl.

Upstart sports-themed online TV service FuboTV is eyeing sports gambling as a point of differentiation from online TV heavyweights Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV, AT&T TV and Sling TV. The New York-based service plans to launch an interactive sports gambling book later this year — a move Disney’s sports-themed SVOD ESPN+ is considering as well.

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FuboTV, which launched an IPO in 2020, entered 2021 with about 545,000 subscribers paying from $65 monthly for access to more than 100 channels, including 40 sports-themed. The 6-year-old service last year acquired Balto Sports, a backend developer of fantasy sports gaming software. Last month, FuboTV expanded to live sports by acquiring Vigtory, an interactive sports gaming company.

“FuboTV can go places where [Disney and Google-owned YouTube TV] can’t,” The Motley Fool’s Rick Munarriz wrote last month. “It can also turn on the spigot of sports gambling without raising eyebrows the way that Google or Disney would if they decided to rip a page out of fuboTV’s playbook.”

Michael Pachter, media analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angles, remains bullish on fuboTV, upping his share price target to $50 from $40. The analyst contends the service’s live sports content is a win for consumers and investors.

“FuboTV is a real company,” Pachter told CNBC. “There’s a lot of pessimism that they can’t stand out [among online TV players]. In fact, they have more sports programming than anybody. And what makes that a huge advantage is that [pay-TV] cord cutters are looking for live sports content.”

Pachter said FuboTV continues to draw advertising revenue streaming Italian, Spanish and British professional soccer in the U.S.

“Their ad ARPU (average ad revenue per user) goes from $6 to $12; the company is talking $20,” the analyst said. “That will get them to profitability in a couple of years.”

 

 

 

FuboTV Launches Updated Multiview Feature on Apple TV

FuboTV, the sports-themed online TV streaming platform, Oct. 22 announced it has updated its multiview feature on Apple TV. Now, subscribers can watch up to four channels simultaneously, doubling the feature’s previous capability of two channels.

The updated multiview feature is currently available to 10% of fuboTV subscribers and will roll out to 100% in the coming days. The launch coincides with the kick-off of college football’s Big 10 season. Multiview is especially popular with sports viewers as it easily enables watching multiple games simultaneously without switching channels. The company was also the first online TV service to stream in 4K resolution.

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FuboTV’s sports package offers subscribers access to 50,000+ live sporting events annually as well as news and entertainment content. In addition to college football, fuboTV has soccer coverage, near-total NFL coverage and significant MLB, NBA and NHL coverage. FuboTV is the only online TV service streaming 11 Thursday Night Football games this season and the 2020 World Series in 4K.

FuboTV Getting ESPN, Disney Television Content

Disney Media Networks has inked a distribution agreement with FaceBank Group to deliver news, sports and entertainment content from ESPN and Walt Disney Television to streaming platform fuboTV.

Beginning this summer, customers who subscribe to fuboTV’s fubo standard base package will have access to ABC, ABC News Live, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Freeform, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, in-market for SEC Network and ACC Network, FX, FXX and National Geographic. Additional networks will also be available on fuboTV’s other packages, including out-of-market for SEC Network and ACC Network, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, FXM, Fox Life, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Mundo and BabyTV.

The deal includes both live television and VOD.

“With the addition to our lineup of the ESPN suite of channels, we continue to make good on our promise to sports fans to be the undisputed home of professional and college sports,” David Gandler, co-founder and CEO of fuboTV, said in a statement.  “Fubo is equally delighted to add the storied Disney, ABC, FX and Nat Geo networks to round out a robust programming portfolio for the whole family to enjoy.”

“Launching Disney’s networks strengthens our sports-focused live TV platform and brings a diverse range of content for the entire family,” Ben Grad, head of content strategy and acquisition for fuboTV, said in a statement. “Our base package offers consumers significant value, while consumers who want even more great sports and entertainment content can access it with our premium packages. As live sports return but without spectators, streaming games at home will be even more important than ever. We’re thrilled to bring more sports, as well as entertainment and news, to our consumers this summer.”

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“Adding Disney’s array of networks across news, sports and entertainment content with ABC, Disney Channel, ESPN, FX, and Nat Geo delivers a more comprehensive channel lineup and tremendous value to customers’ subscriptions,” Sean Breen, EVP of platform distribution for Disney Media Networks, said in a statement. “With fuboTV’s multiple access points across all major streaming platforms and a competitive price point, we continue to serve a growing audience that consumes video on multiple screens and attract new customers into the pay TV ecosystem.”

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In April, fuboTV merged with FaceBank, combining fuboTV’s direct-to-consumer live TV streaming platform for cord-cutters with FaceBank’s IP in sports, movies and live performances.

FuboTV Names Simone Nardi CFO

Live streaming platform fuboTV has named Simone Nardi CFO.

Nardi is based in New York City and reports directly to CEO David Gandler.

As CFO, Nardi leads all financial operations and strategy for fuboTV. He joins the streaming platform as it prepares to uplist to a major stock exchange following its merger in April with FaceBank Group.

“Simone has already been instrumental in guiding fuboTV through our recent merger,” Gandler said in a statement. “With his deep experience managing finance and strategy for companies undergoing transformations in their business, Simone is an integral new member of fuboTV’s executive team.”

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“I’m extremely honored to join the outstanding team at fuboTV,” Nardi said in a statement. “It’s an exciting time to be joining a proven leader in the media industry at the forefront of the streaming revolution. I look forward to playing a key role as the company continues to expand, drive cost efficiencies and growth and focus on delivering shareholder value.”

Prior to joining fuboTV, Nardi served as SVP and CFO, international for lifestyle content producer Scripps Networks Interactive. In this role, Nardi was responsible for all finance and strategic planning for the company’s international business across Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America. In this role, Nardi was also responsible for leading the company’s international program licensing business and coordinating branding, marketing, technical operations and digital outside of the United States. He was also a member of the board of directors of Scripps’ joint ventures with the BBC in the United Kingdom and with Corus Entertainment in Canada.

Previously, Nardi served as SVP and CFO for NBC Universal’s international channels and television production businesses where he helped build and grow the international TV production operation for NBC Universal, green-lighting and monetizing key franchises such as “Downton Abbey.” Previously, he served as CFO of NBC Universal’s business development division in New York, where he assumed a lead role in launching Hulu.

Nardi began his career with General Electric in Italy and the United States.

FuboTV merged with FaceBank Group in April 2020, combining fuboTV’s direct-to-consumer live TV streaming platform for cord-cutters with FaceBank’s technology-driven IP in sports, movies and live performances.