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).

Tubi to Bow Sundance Film Festival Selection ‘Beast Beast’ Feb. 12

Fox Entertainment’s AVOD platform continues to push original content with the Feb. 8 announcement that it will debut on Feb. 12 the 2020 Sundance Film Festival selection Beast Beast, written and directed by Danny Madden, based on his short-film Krista, and executive produced by Alec Baldwin.

The movie, also the 2020 Audience Award and Georgia Film Award winner at the Atlanta Film Festival, chronicles the lives and trauma surrounding three people living in a southern town.

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“We’re proud to support talented filmmakers like the Beast Beast team as we expand our growing indie library with premium titles and help these incredible films reach broader audiences,” CCO Adam Lewinson said in a statement.

Beast Beast is set in a quiet southern town, where popular and charismatic theater kid Krista (Shirley Chen) finds herself increasingly drawn to Nito (Jose Angeles), the new student in her high school who catches her attention with his impressive skating videos. The two share an easy rapport and quickly grow close. Unbeknownst to her, their lives and that of her gun-loving neighbor, Adam (Will Madden), will soon become intertwined — until they reach a breaking point. The movie also stars Courtney Dietz (Queen America) and Daniel Rashid (Being Frank).

Beast Beast captures what it means to come of age in an era marked by technology and social media, where violent clashes awaken dormant passions and teenagers are faced with growing up all too quickly.

Beast Beast was an official selection at SXSW and also received the Grand Jury Prize at Champs-Elysees Film Festival’s U.S. In Progress. Produced in association with Baldwin’s company, Persona Entertainment, the film is also executive produced by Casey Bader and Jim Cummings with Benjamin Wiessner, Matt Miller and Tara Ansley serving as producers. Kristian Zuniga serves as Director of Photography.

Tubi recently announced record monthly active users (MAU) of 33 million in August, an increase of 65% year-over-year. With total view time surpassing 200 million hours of content streamed each month since April, Tubi has more than 30,000 movies and TV shows from more than 250 content partners, including nearly every major studio.

Tubi: Half of 33 Million Monthly Users Under Age 35

With an average viewer age approximately 20 years younger than that of linear television, nearly half of Tubi’s 33 million monthly active users are under the age of 35, according to new data released by the Fox Entertainment-owned AVOD platform. Additionally, Tubi’s 2.5 billion hours streamed in 2020 mark a 58% increase in streaming viewership over the past 12 months, providing an 80% incremental audience reach to the top 25 cable networks.

“Our findings highlight Tubi’s young, diverse and nationally representative streaming audience, including viewers in harder-to-reach markets,” Natalie Bastian, VP of marketing, said in a statement.

While advertising budgets are still skewed toward linear TV, Tubi said it found “compelling” data to support the significance of streaming as a complement to linear campaigns, coupling linear audiences with younger viewers and cord cutters. One case study outlined in the report reveals that for the regional grocer WinnDixie, nearly 80% of Tubi households reached were incremental to those of their linear campaign.

With the majority of AVOD streamers unreachable to brands through traditional cable TV and viewers who subscribe to SVOD services, according to Tubi, challenges within the buying ecosystem — namely around ad repetition — still persist.

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Tubi claims its software can reduce ad fatigue and increase incremental reach — with early tests indicating a 366% reduction in over-frequency and 20% efficiency in increasing reach.

Findings from MRI-Simmons data included in the report show that at least 66% of Tubi’s audience is unreachable on other AVOD services. While Tubi’s audience is nationally representative, the platform has a large diverse representative audience with African-American, Hispanic and Asian audiences comprising 39% of its user base.

Tubi offers branded Tubi Kids, providing programming for families, and Tubi en Español, offering thousands of hours of Spanish-language content. Tubi also features a library of movies, TV series targeting black audiences, including “The Masked Singer,” “I Can See Your Voice” and “Lego Masters,” as well as a selection of anime appealing to younger viewers, nostalgic classic titles and everything in between.

Tubi Launches on Roku Platform in Mexico

Roku Dec. 14 announced that Fox Entertainment’s ad-supported streaming video service Tubi is now available on the Roku platform in Mexico. The app is available for free from the Roku Channel Store. Users can access thousands of movies and TV shows for free via the app on their Roku device.

“Tubi is an important AVOD channel that is already very popular on the Roku platform in the U.S. and we are excited to bring their extensive entertainment library to users in Mexico,” Yulia Poltorak, director of international content distribution at Roku, said in a statement.

Andrea Clarke-Hall, head of global business development at Tubi, said partnership with Roku in Mexico is instrumental in its mission marketing a free alternative to SVOD.

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“We’re excited to expand our footprint with one of the leading streaming brands, in concert with our content partner TV Azteca, with Roku users now able to enjoy an immense library featuring some of the world’s beloved Spanish-language titles,” Clarke-Hall said.

Tubi, which Fox acquired earlier this year for $440 million, offers movies and television shows — all localized in Spanish-language, from Latin America and the U.S., including film Consciencia, starring Rubén Zamora (Atrapada, Vuelve Temprano), Bárbara de Regil (Rosario Tijeras, Tiempos Felices), and Carla Nieto (Sin Origen, Cuéntame). Roku users will also have access to genres and collections, including “Hollywood Favorites,” “Family Entertainment,” and “The Best of TV Azteca” that includes Exatlón MexicoMasterChefLo que La Gente CuenteMontecristo, Mientras Haya Vida, Bellezas Indomables and Amor en Custodia.

Tubi Adds New Fox Music Reality Series ‘I Can See Your Voice’

Tubi is going back to the Fox Corp. content well for new music reality series “I Can See Your Voice,” which is now available to stream on the ad-supported VOD platform. Weekly episodes from the debut season, hosted and executive produced by “The Masked Singer” panelist Ken Jeong, will continue to roll out on Tubi shortly after their linear broadcast premiere.

The series is the latest addition from Fox to be added to Tubi’s library of more than 23,000 movies and TV shows. The next new episode of “I Can See Your Voice” premieres on Fox Oct. 28.

The series features Jeong, along with Emmy-nominated actress Cheryl Hines (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) and Daytime Emmy Award-winning television host and vocalist Adrienne Bailon-Houghton — in addition to a rotating panel of celebrity detectives and a musical superstar — as they help one contestant tell the difference between good and bad singers, without ever hearing them sing a note.

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With $100,000 on the line, the contestant will attempt to weed out the bad “Secret Voices” from the good, based on a series of clues, interrogation and lip sync challenges. In the end, the singer whom the contestant picks will reveal if they are good or bad in a duet performance with the musical superstar, resulting in a musical collaboration or a totally hilarious train wreck.

Tubi, which Fox acquired earlier this year for $440 million, recently announced record “monthly active users” (MAU) reached 33 million in August, an increase of 65% year-over-year — with total view time surpassing 200 million hours of content streamed each month since April.

Tubi Enters AVOD Deal With China’s Wanda Pictures

Ad-supported VOD platform Tubi Oct. 19 announced it has entered a content deal with Chinese film and television studio Wanda Pictures. The partnership will launch with original and exclusive English-dubbed versions of Detective Chinatown 2, the sixth-highest grossing movie of all time in China. The deal also includes an anime film set in the e-sports world, The King’s Avatar: For the Glory. Both films will soon be available on Tubi in the U.S. and Canada, with The King’s Avatar: For The Glory also available in Spanish in the United States and Mexico.

Fox Corp. jumpstarted its foray into AVOD with the $440 million acquisition of San Francisco-based Tubi earlier this year.

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“We are thrilled to be aligning with Wanda Pictures as we look to expand our offering with storytelling from international territories,” Adam Lewinson, chief content officer at Tubi, said in a statement.

Detective Chinatown 2, written and directed by Chen Sicheng and starring Wang Baoqiang, Liu Haoran, Xiao Yang and Natasha Liu Bordizzo, has grossed more than $540 million worldwide. The sequel to the 2015 hit is the first film created and managed by Chinese companies to be filmed domestically in collaboration with local unions. DC 2 is a winner of the 34th Hundred Flowers Award.

The King’s Avatar: For The Glory, written by Youcong Li and directed by Zhiwei Deng and Juansheng Shi, is an animated feature about a skilled group of young gamers who form an electronic sports team and compete for the national championship. The film stars Ketsu, Bian Jiang, Xia Lei and Xi Zi.  

Tubi claims more than 33 million average monthly users generating more than 200 million hours of content streamed since June. The platform has more than 23,000 movies and television shows from over 250 content partners, including nearly every major Hollywood studio.

Tubi Adding Fox, Third-Party News Channels to AVOD Platform

Tubi, a division of Fox Entertainment, Oct. 8 announced it has launched “News on Tubi” in the United States, featuring free access to live and VOD content from Fox Television Stations, NewsNow from Fox, Fox Soul, Bloomberg TV, NBC News NOW, PeopleTV, CBC, WeatherNation, Cheddar, Altice USA’s News 12 New York, fubo Sports Network, and the Black News Channel.

Fox Entertainment acquired Tubi earlier this year for $440 million in an effort to jumpstart content distribution in the growing ad-supported VOD market, which includes the Roku Channel, IMDb TV, Pluto TV, Samsung TV and Peacock, among others.

Tubi is available on Android, Amazon Fire TV, and the Roku platform.

News on Tubi offers access to 17 feeds from Fox owned and operated television stations in designated market areas that include New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas.

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“We will continue to evolve ‘News on Tubi’ to offer more choices, while also diversifying other content choices to serve our young, diverse, and growing userbase,” CEO Farhad Massoudi said in a statement.

The platform will expand to offer stations from Hearst Television, as well as news from two of the largest local station groups in the country — covering 24 of the top 25 markets. Later in October, News on Tubi will become the first major streaming home for Euronews World live in the United States, launch the 24-hour Spanish-language news stream from Estrella Media’s Estrella News network, and offer streaming news from USA Today.

Fox Television Stations offered include:

    • New York (WNYW-TV)
    • Los Angeles (KTTV-TV)
    • Chicago (WFLD-TV)
    • Philadelphia (WTXF-TV)
    • Dallas (KDFW-TV)
    • San Francisco (KTVU-TV)
    • Washington DC (WTTG-TV)
    • Houston (KRIV-TV)
    • Atlanta (WAGA-TV)
    • Phoenix (KSAZ-TV)
    • Tampa (WTVT-TV)
    • Seattle (KCPQ-TV)
    • Detroit (WJBK-TV)
    • Minneapolis (KMSP-TV)
    • Orlando (WOFL-TV)
    • Milwaukee (WITI-TV)
    • Austin (KTBC-TV)

 

Other channels added include:

  • NewsNow from Fox,  with breaking news, live events, and stories taking place across the nation;
  • Fox Soul, a live and interactive streaming channel dedicated to the African-American viewer celebrating Black culture and dealing with topics that impact the everyday lives of the Black community;
  • Black News Channel, which claims to be the nation’s only 24/7 culturally specific news network that reflects the Black community’s diverse viewpoints;
  • NBC News Now, the 24/7 streaming service from NBCNews featuring reporting, storytelling and live, breaking news from the global resources of NBC News;
  • WeatherNation, which offers local, regional, or national live weather news;
  • CBC, with breaking news from Canada and around the world, from Canada’s public broadcaster;
  • PeopleTV, the celebrity news and entertainment network powered by the People and Entertainment Weekly newsrooms;
  • Bloomberg TV, a 24-hour global business and financial news network covering market trends, investment, international relations, technology, and more;
  • Cheddar, the digital-first news network, providing quick updates on trending stories in tech, innovation, business, politics, media, entertainment and culture;
  • News 12 New York, the hyperlocal news service dedicated to bringing residents of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Connecticut, the Hudson Valley, Long Island, New Jersey, and Westchester local news, traffic, weather, sports, and more; and
  • fubo Sports Network, the live TV network featuring sports stories on and off the field.

 

Later this month, Tubi will offer:

  • USA Today News;
  • Euronews,  providing news with a European perspective to a worldwide audience;
  • Estrella News, a 24/7 Spanish-language multiplatform news channel, delivering relevant and breaking news stories and reports for Hispanics; and
  • Hearst Television. which owns and operates 33 television stations serving 26 media markets reaching over 21 million U.S. television households from which Tubi will initially offer Pittsburgh (WTAE-TV ABC) and Manchester, NH (WMUR-TV ABC).

Tubi: 25% of SVOD Subs Have Dropped Service for AVOD

Tubi, Fox Corp.’s ad-supported VOD service, Sept. 10 released new data underscoring what it claims is a rise in popularity of so-called “free streaming” or ad-supported video-on-demand services.

Citing data from research firm OnePoll, Tubi said 25% of survey respondents have dropped a SVOD streaming service in favor of AVOD in the past few months. In addition, 37% surveyed said they would try a new streaming service with ads to discover new content. The OnePoll online survey polled 2,000 people nationwide from Aug. 7 to 12, 2020.

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San Francisco-based Tubi, which Fox acquired earlier this year for $440 million, said the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has caused financial difficulties resulting in 33% of respondents reevaluating their subscription streaming services. To save money, 25% started a free trial and canceled it before paying the subscription fee, with the average person who employs this tactic doing so three times.

Meanwhile, 17% have shared passwords with others in order to gain access to streamers they don’t subscribe to, with 38% of respondents 18-24 and 31% of 25-34 participating in password swaps.

The survey also showed that streaming has continued to boom with social distancing practices still in place, with over half of respondents (52%) stating that they streamed more than they would in a typical summer due to stay-at-home restrictions with COVID-19. Over the past two months alone, the average person has binged four shows and watched 20 movies.

Respondents ages 25 to 34 increased their streaming the most this summer, with the average person watching an additional four hours of content a day on top of what they were watching at the start of quarantine in March or April.

Streaming has also continued to be a resource for parents with children at home, as two in five parents — nearly half — estimate that their child is streaming more now than when the pandemic started. With many activities canceled this summer because of the pandemic, a third of parents were dependent on streamers to keep their child busy. At the same time, over half (55%) think that TV has become an educational tool to keep their child learning when school is not open.

In addition, 39% of respondents are struggling to find new content on streamers, leading 35% to try a new streaming service to find different content.

OTT.X Summit Speakers Talk FAST (Free, Ad-Supported Television)

Free, ad-supported television dominated the discussion during the OTT.X summit’s opening-day keynote panel.

Known by the acronym FAST, the market certainly is in growth mode. Media heavyweights ViacomCBS and Comcast Corp. have acquired Pluto TV and Xumo, respectively, while Comcast’s much-ballyhooed Peacock streaming service also will have a free, ad-supported component.

And as Media Play News reported earlier this week, new data from eMarketer suggests AVOD revenue will grow more than 25% this year compared with 2019.

The AVOD market — spearheaded by The Roku Channel, Disney-owned Hulu, Peacock, Redbox TV, Amazon’s IMDb TV, Pluto TV and Fox Corp.’s Tubi — saw ad revenue skyrocket 31% to $849 million in the most-recent quarter, according to MoffettNathanson Research.

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“It’s something I’m really excited about — this is the thing that’s really hot,” moderator David Bloom, a tech journalist and consultant, said during the panel on Sept. 1. (The OTT.X summit continues through Sept. 3; click here to register.)

Anthony Layser, VP of content partnerships at Xumo, agreed.

“Things have changed so quickly over the last couple of years,” he said. “I joined Xumo in 2017 and I think at first there were some things that felt a little bit like a gimmick — you’re starting to string together types of content into a linear experience.

“And then I really got a sense, after a few months in, that what’s old is new again. People don’t necessarily want to spend all night searching through box art; they may be interested in a very specific series they are comfortable with — maybe it’s nostalgia, maybe it’s lifestyle.”

The FAST market, he said, “is always changing and it’s exciting to come to work every day and look at data and say, ‘Wow, look at how this piece of content we licensed years ago is taking off.’”

Erick Opeka, president of Cinedigm Networks, said his company over the past 18 months has sought to build “a nice portfolio of premium FAST and AVOD services to complement our four niche subscription services we still operate.”

“We got out of the real heavy, direct-to-consumer side,” he said, “and now focus on what I call the classic model of third-party distribution. You get a lot of bang for your buck — you don’t have to spend a lot of money on marketing, and you can focus all your energy on content spend and everyone else handles all the rest. So it’s a good model. Where we really thought the growth for us was going to come was in the ad-supported space.”

Advertising spending, he said, is “completely disconnected from the consumption right now. If you look at the data coming out of Samsung, where 55% of all consumption on smart TVs is not with traditional environments — the trend is not going to reverse; it’s not going to suddenly swing back the other way, especially given that 265 million sets are sold annually that have linear and VOD baked in, not to mention hundreds of thousands of apps.”

With FAST, Opeka said, “consumers love the choice, they love getting tons of entertainment for free that they don’t have to pay for. A couple of years ago, Pluto really educated all of us. … People mistake linear being dead for pre-programmed, tuned-in being dead. But I think there’s a very different piece here. Leanback is not dead. There’s a real specific use case for a big chunk of the week where you don’t have a lot of time and don’t want to spend 30 minutes digging through thousands of titles or hoping the algorithm finds you. You just want something on while you’re having leftovers. What we’re really talking about is hand-curated, passive, feed-my-eyes, against active, algorithm-driven recommendations. There’s a place in the world for both.”

Tedd Cittadine, VP of content distribution at Roku, said, “There’s no secret we’re really excited and optimistic about the AVOD business in general. We started just over three years ago with the Roku Channel, and the reason we launched it is because our consumers were disproportionately searching for free content. We knew there was pent-up demand for it. And we’ve seen significant growth — it’s been growing faster than the platform as a whole.”

He noted that the “AVOD landscape has changed significantly” over the past few years. “It’s gone from many startup independents to Roku, CBS, Fox, Amazon, YouTube, Comcast”

He noted that as the business becomes increasingly competitive, there are “three key things that drive success.” One is access to a “huge audience.” “It’s incredibly expensive to acquire consumers,” he said. “If you don’t have that huge installed base you can market to and deliver your content to, it can be very challenging to build that audience.” Second is having a “one-to-one, proprietary relationship with data for consumers, and having access to that data to make your advertising more effective.” And the third, he said, is having a “large and successful, well-funded direct ad sales organization to take advantage of monetization opportunities.”

Also speaking on the panel was Andrea Clarke-Hall, VP of business development at Tubi, acquired by Fox in April. “If you take COVID and add an acquisition, it makes for interesting times,” she said. “But it has been awesome. It’s still very early days, but it seems to be a really great partnership. Fox has given Tubi tremendous autonomy, and I think what we’ve seen is continued announcements every week about leveraging Fox ownership to bring better and better content to Tubi.”

Cameron Douglas, VP of home entertainment for Fandango, gave a nod to the transactional side of the business, noting that stay-at-home orders, and the movie theater shutdown, during the coronavirus pandemic has given the business a boost.

“You feel like the last few months have brought transactional back,” he said. “People have discovered there’s new content, movies you might not have ever seen — like The Tax Collector, which has been No. 1 on our service for the last couple of weeks.”