Tubi: 70% of Americans Now Streaming More Video on TV Than When Pandemic Began

Tubi, the ad-supported VOD platform owned by Fox Entertainment, May 14 released new data on consumer streaming behavior pointing to streaming video’s continued growth one year after the COVID-19 pandemic began impacting the United States in March 2020.

In Tubi’s audience report The Stream, 70% of survey respondents reported watching three hours more TV content daily than they did in March 2020.

Tubi recently announced a record-setting total view time (TVT) of 798 million hours during the first quarter this year, up 54% year-over-year, and a platform-best 276 million hours of TVT in March. The AVOD service saw 2.5 billion hours streamed in 2020.

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The report also found that nearly half (49%) of respondents are searching for ways to pay less for their streaming services in 2021 than they did in 2020, with many turning to AVOD as a solution to cure subscription fatigue. Nearly a third (32%) of people in the study plan on canceling a subscription streaming service (SVOD) they currently use, with one in three (33%) citing cost as their reason to cancel a subscription.

With half (50%) of those in the study turning to free ad-supported streaming services over the past year, 29% among this group did so as a way to cut costs, while 39% did so as a way to supplement their subscription services. The study revealed that consumers crave variety, with 40% of those surveyed noting that a large library of movies and TV shows is important to them in a streaming service, followed by the service being free or affordable (38%).

While more than half of those surveyed (55%) used streaming as an escape from their daily lives, many were also watching more news to keep up with the current events in 2020, with 55% also watching more news now than they were prior to the beginning of the pandemic. Respondents watched local news the most (53%) followed by national news (45%).

“We’re speaking directly to this demographic in the coming year with a larger library that will soon feature original content, sports programming and an expanded news offering, particularly as viewers look to scale back their subscription costs without sacrificing quality content at their fingertips,” Natalie Bastian,VP, marketing at Tubi, said in a statement.

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 Enters Anime Deal With Shout! Factory

Tubi, Fox Entertainment’s FAST streaming service, April 7 announced a content deal with Shout! Factory to bring a collection of anime films to its viewers. Titles include In This Corner of the World and Eleven Arts Anime Studio’s Millennium Actress, as well as Liz and the Blue Bird and Penguin Highway, among others. These films will be available in subtitled and dubbed versions beginning April 8, with In This Corner of the World coming to in 2022.

“Tubi has a significant audience of anime lovers,” CCO Adam Lewinson said in a statement. The platform has more than 30,000 movies and television shows from over 250 content partners, including every major studio.

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Melissa Boag, SVP of Family Entertainment at Shout! Factory, said the agreement helps expand the home entertainment distributor’s portfolio of content across new channels. Notably, Shout! Factory was one of the first distributors to launch a branded AVOD platform, dubbed Shout! TV in 2015.

“We’re excited to collaborate with Tubi,” Boag said.

Titles coming to Tubi include:

  • Millennium Actress

Winner of Tokyo Anime Award and nominated for multiple Annie awards, this gorgeous new restoration is what many believe to be Satoshi Kon’s (Perfect BluePaprika) greatest work. When the legendary Ginei Studios shuts down, filmmaker Genya Tachibana and his assistant are tasked with interviewing its reclusive star, Chiyoko Fujiwara, who had retired from the spotlight 30 years prior. As Chiyoko recounts her career, Genya and his crew are literally pulled into her memories where they witness her chance encounter with a mysterious man on the run from the police. Despite never knowing his name or his face, Chiyoko relentlessly pursues that man in a seamless blend of reality and memory that only Satoshi Kon could deliver. The film also garnered the Grand Prize in the Japan Agency of Cultural Affairs Media Arts Festival.

  • Liz and the Blue Bird

Directed by Naoko Yamada, students and best friends Mizore Yoroizuka and Nozomi Kasaki prepare to play a complex musical duet, “Liz and the Blue Bird,” for oboe and flute. Though they play beautifully together and have been friends since childhood, Mizore and Nozomi find that with graduation looming and the duet proving difficult, their friendship begins to buckle under the pressure. Interspersed with their story is the fantasy tale of Liz, drawn like a storybook, contrasting with the crisp realism of the school. These two distinct styles weave with stirring music to tell an intimate coming-of-age story. The film was nominated for Best Film at the Crunchyroll Awards.

  • Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms

Though only 15, Maquia knows she will live for centuries without aging past adolescence. She belongs to the Iorph, a clan of ageless beings just like her. Maquia’s elders warn her not to fall in love with anyone outside their realm. But fate pushes Maquia out into the mortal world one night when an invading territory separates her from the clan. There she discovers an orphaned baby, Arial, and takes him in as her own child. From this point, Maquia will suffer extreme heartbreak in the name of motherhood, as she watches Arial grow and seeks to reconnect with her lost Iorph friends, all torn apart by the cruel world of Mesate.

  • Penguin Highway

Budding genius Aoyama is only in the 4th grade, but already lives his life like a scientist. When penguins start appearing in his sleepy suburb, hundreds of miles from the sea, Aoyama vows to solve the mystery. When he discovers that the arrival of the penguins is somehow related to a mysterious young woman from his dentist’s office, they team up for an unforgettable summer adventure! The film was nominated for Best Animated Film at the Japanese Academy Awards.

  • The Wonderland

On the day before her birthday, young Akane meets the mysterious alchemist Hippocrates who brings her through a basement and into a fantastical world full of magic and color. Though things seem peaceful on the surface, he reveals this world is in danger and as the destined Goddess of the Green Wind, it is Akane’s responsibility to bring back the rain and save this world from the terror known as Zan Gu. Joining Akane on her journey is Pipo, an alchemist in training, and her adventurous Aunt Chii. The only problem? Akane just wants to go home. The film is directed by Keiichi Hara.

  • Sound! Euphonium: The Movie – Welcome To The Kitauji High School Concert Band. Sound! Euphonium: The Movie – May The Melody Reach You. Sound! Euphonium: The Movie – Our Promise: A Brand New Day

Based on the manga and television series, the Sound! Euphonium movies follow Kumiko, a young girl at Kitauji High School who plays euphonium in her school’s orchestra. Follow the band on their mission to reach Nationals while juggling romance and adolescence.

  • Haikara-San: Here Comes Miss Modern Parts 1 & 2

Adapted from Waki Yamato’s popular manga, Kazuhiro Furuhashi’s Haikara-San is a heartfelt, and sometimes comical, tale of love surviving through the perils of war and separation.

  • Donten: Laughing Under the Clouds Gaiden

It’s been a year since brothers and shrine guardians, Tenka, Soramaru, and Chutaro, have defeated the legendary giant snake that threatened to destroy humanity. However, their lives are thrown into upheaval when they discover a plot to revive the evil serpent.

  • In This Corner of the World

Based on the award-winning manga by Fumiyo Kouno and brought to life by acclaimed filmmaker Sunao Katabuchi (Mai Mai Miracle) and producer Taro Maki, In This Corner of The World tells the emotional story of Suzu, a young girl from Hiroshima, who’s just become a bride in the nearby city of Kure during World War II. Living with her husband’s family, Suzu has to adjust to her new life, which is made especially difficult by regular air raids. But life must go on, and Suzu — through the help of her new family and neighbors — begins to discover the joys of everyday life in Kure. Much is gained in Kure, but with war, many things cherished are also lost. In This Corner of The World is brought to life, in stunning animation, by acclaimed filmmaker Sunao Katabuchi (Mai Mai Miracle) and producer Taro Maki. The film was also nominated for Best Film at the Annie awards, among several other wins and nominations.

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.

News Analysis: AVOD Upping Content Game

As subscription streaming services HBO Max and Paramount+ prep lower-cost, ad-supported consumer options, free ad-supported platforms are entering the original content arena and targeting a growing audience that eschews pay-TV and is not interested in substituting the cable bill with multiplying SVOD fees.

Pluto TV, the AVOD unit owned by Paramount’s corporate parent ViacomCBS, is eyeing a cross-pollination of original content migrating between its 22 million average monthly viewers and SVOD Paramount+. Fox Corp.’s Tubi is eyeing funding lower-budget original movies and TV shows. The platform saw viewership jump 58% in 2020, including 33 million average monthly viewers throughout the fourth quarter. More importantly, viewers consumed 750 million hours of content in the second quarter, which was 70% higher than the previous corresponding period.

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CFO Steve Tomsic told a recent Wall Street investor group Tubi represents the “broadening of the future” for network television, and said he would consider original programing in an attempt to increase ad revenue, which is expected to reach $300 million this year and $1 billion annually in the near term.

“It’s often these really cost-effective titles that a lot of the viewership resides in,” Tomsic said, adding that Fox content assets such as “The Masked Singer” are being co-distributed on Tubi to give the platform an “extra special” edge, and the platform more “breadth” in terms of content.

“Don’t expect us to invest in really meaningful ways in terms of scripted entertainment dramas that come with huge price tags and are really difficult to make work out of the economics of broadcast television,” Tomsic said.

Meanwhile, Roku, which helped co-launch the SVOD market in 2008 with Netflix, is eyeing original content for The Roku Channel, the company’s branded AVOD platform. As of the fourth quarter of 2020, Roku reported 51.2 million monthly active users in the U.S. This figure is the company’s highest-ever active quarterly user total.

To keep those eyeballs returning, Roku is beginning to dip its toes in original programming. The platform March 19 launches “Cypher,” an FBI series featuring seven, one-hour episodes and available free to viewers of The Roku Channel. The AVOD will also become the exclusive destination for more than 75 premium shows and documentaries acquired from short-lived SVOD platform Quibi.

March 18, Roku announced it would kickoff the IAB’s official 2021 NewFronts Lineup on May 3 as the week’s first presenter to media buyers.

“We’ve seen first-hand the role that TV streaming has played in consumers and marketers lives in the last year,” Alison Levin, VP of global ad revenue and marketing solutions at Roku, said in a statement. “Roku is thrilled to kick-off the first presentation at IAB NewFronts once again this year and looks forward to sharing how marketers can buy TV like you watch TV.”

In February, AVOD service Crackle Plus announced that production had begun on season two of its original series “Going From Broke,” the unscripted show spotlighting the financial epidemic of student loan debt executive produced by Ashton Kutcher and hosted by Chegg CEO Dan Rosensweig.

Crackle corporate parent Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment operates several ad-supported streaming services (PopcornFlix, Frightpix, faith-based Truli, Espannolflix), with an eye on streaming original and under-the-radar programming to a growing user base.

Michael Pachter, media analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, says the AVOD market offers programmers and advertisers two options: lower-priced subscription plans such as $5.99 Hulu and pending HBO Max and Paramount+. These AVOD editions are typically limited to delivering no more than three to four minutes of ads per hour. By comparison, completely free platforms such as Tubi, Pluto TV, Amazon’s IMDb TV and Crackle can advertise as much as 10 to 12 minutes per hour.

“There’s room for both business models,” Pachter said in an email. “[Crackle buys] produced content for exclusive streaming windows. Really innovative.”

Tubi Ups ‘March Madness’ With Hoops Docs/Game Replays

NCAA’s college basketball post-season tournament (“March Madness”) officially starts on March 18. Fox Corp.’s free ad-supported streaming TV platform (FAST) Tubi is rolling out a line-up of documentaries and Fox Sports replays ahead of the tournament. 

Documentaries / Docuseries:

“CampusLore Live Basketball” (2020) – Hear from former and current NBA stars each week as they talk about their NCAA days and offer insight and analysis on today’s college game.1000 to 1: The Cory Weissman Story (2014) – Cory Weissman (David Henrie), a student at Gettysburg College, returns to the basketball court after suffering a stroke.”Life Without Basketball” (2019) – A controversial court ruling forces a Muslim American college basketball star to choose between her faith and her dreams to play professionally.

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“LeBron James: King of the Court” (2020) — The legendary basketball star showed promise back in high school, before going on to make a name for himself as one of the greatest in the game.

“Manchild: The Schea Cotton Story” (2020) — Celebrated for his basketball skills as a teenager, it seemed Schea Cotton had the world ahead of him. But things didn’t go as he imagined.”Ray Jr’s What If?: The Damon Stringer Story” (2020) – Known as Ohio’s Mr. Basketball in the early 90’s, this is the story of a talented high school athlete who faced many highs and lows.“Something to Cheer About” (2002) – This powerful sports documentary tells the story of the Crispus Attucks Tigers, the first all-black high school basketball team to win a US state championship.

Big Game Replays:

“Fox Sports College Basketball Classics: Big East” (2020) — A compilation of basketball classics from the Big East.”Fox Sports College Basketball Classics: BIG TEN” (2020) — Relive the biggest Big Ten matchup classics with Michigan St. at Indiana (2019), Iowa at Michigan (2019), Wisconsin at Ohio St. (2020), and more.”Fox Sports College Basketball Classics: PAC-12″ (2020) — Relive the biggest matchups of the Pac-12 Conference with UCLA at Washington (2020), USC at Arizona St. (2020), Stanford at Oregon (2020), and more.“Big Ten Classics: Basketball Championship Games” (2020) — Sit down, relax, and enjoy some of the best, most intense, and memorable moments from the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Championship games.”Big Ten Classics: Michigan vs. Michigan State” (2020) — The epic match-up between the Spartans and the Wolverines produced some of the most exciting, talked-about moments in college basketball.

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.