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 May 2 unveiled that, on the heels of a banner year, it will debut more than 100 original titles in the next 12 months. In 2021, the Fox Entertainment-owned ad-supported VOD platform ended the year with 51 million active users and a record-breaking 3.6 billion hours streamed — up 40% from 2.57 billion hours consumed in 2020.
Tubi said it has seen double-digit growth in all audience segments over the past year — with the most growth among college educated and affluent demos, placing Tubi on par with U.S. national averages. With an average viewer 16+ years younger than non-streamers, Tubi’s audience is nationally representative across geographic, economic and educational segments, and includes a large multicultural audience, comprising 20.4 million (40%) of its user base.
Tubi genres include Black Cinema, thriller, horror, sci-fi, romance and adult animation genres; and also providing a new opportunity for brands to integrate early during the development of its originals slate. Tubi’s library — at 40,000+ titles, claims to be the largest in the free ad-supported streaming market.
Tubi will expand its linear offerings to complement the platform’s current lineup of more than 100 sports and local news channels. Channels for Fox Entertainment’s “The Masked Singer,” “TMZ” and Studio Ramsay Global’s “Gordon Ramsay,” will join Tubi Originals and Tubi en Español, which will soon be available on the platform.
In addition, Tubi will continue to maximize synergy throughout the Fox portfolio — including co-productions with Emmy Award-winning animation studio Bento Box Entertainment and MarVista Entertainment, as well as monthly documentaries and specials from Fox Alternative Entertainment and TMZ, respectively.
“Tubi’s approach of personalization allows for content for every community, and our record growth shows it’s working. We’re doubling down on this approach while delivering our brand partners transparency and an opportunity to reach incremental, diverse and highly engaged consumers,” Mark Rotblat, chief revenue officer at Tubi, said in a statement.
Tubi recently released “campaign insights,” a first-of-its-kind analysis that brings together content groupings, or “content clusters,” with audience information, and gives brands the ability to match audience and context, just like on TV, but with the power and transparency of digital.
Tubi’s latest forward-thinking ad solutions for brands provide actionable insights across the marketing funnel, complementing its “certified measurement program,” which includes partnerships and integrations with leading measurement companies, such as TVSquared, Foursquare and Kantar. Together with Tubi’s low ad load and Advanced Frequency Management tool, which caps exposure at the campaign level regardless of demand source, Tubi’s ad tech also includes organic in-app placements, prime pod positioning and integrated marketing opportunities that complement the viewer experience while driving impact.
Last week, Tubi announced that it’s working with Nielsen on an expansion of its relationship as one of the first AVOD services that will offer complete measurement across its entire footprint of more than 25 devices, advancing advertisers’ needs for third-party measurement.
Tubi recently released findings from The Stream: 2022 Audience Insights for Brands, demonstrating Tubi, together with Fox, offers incremental reach: 71% of Tubi streamers are unreachable on cable, 56% are unreachable on linear TV, and 27% are unreachable on any other major free streaming platform. The findings also found that this year, AVOD will surpass SVOD with respect to market share.
Filmmaker-actress Giovannie Espiritu has worked on both sides of the camera.
Her first short film, Ultra-Feminist, got an Honorable Mention at Outfest: Fusion, and her second film, ALLY 3000, won over 12 awards at film festivals in scriptwriting, social justice and women in film. She is a member of the Alliance of Women Directors and the Producers Guild of America.
As an actress, her television credits include “ER,” “Bones,” “Gilmore Girls,” “Trauma,” “Perfect Harmony” and “Young Sheldon.” She can currently be seen as the lead in the Amazon series “Dyke Central.” She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at Method Fest for the feature film Fiona’s Script. Other feature film work includes supporting roles in the thriller D-Railed with Lance Henriksen and Middleton Christmas with Eileen Davidson and Michael Pare.
Recently, she was recognized as one of 23 “Most Influential Filipina Women in the World” in the Innovator & Thought Leader category by the Filipina Women’s Network and given a “Special Thanks” credit at the end of Pixar’s Turning Red for being the on-call acting coach for Rosalie Chiang.
Espiritu can now be seen on Fox Entertainment’s free ad-supported streaming service Tubi in the the service’s original film Titanic 666, which started streaming April 15. She plays Nancy, an overzealous fan to Mia, a social media influencer played by Annalynne McCord.
In Titanic 666, 110 years after its namesake’s deadly journey, the Titanic III is fated to repeat one of history’s greatest disasters. A faithful replica of the original, the mammoth cruise ship is safeguarded with the most advanced technology to assure clear passage on its maiden voyage for the famous influencers, historical enthusiasts and other excited travelers on board. But unbeknownst to all, there is a stowaway amongst them with vengeful intentions to channel dark forces still at sea. As the ship halts over the surface of the original gravesite, crew and passengers are terrorized by ghosts.
We asked Espiritu about her experience starring in the Tubi original.
MPN: How did you first get involved in and what attracted you to the project?
Espiritu: I auditioned for Titanic 666, back when it was still called Dead Water. As a working (not name) actor, I generally audition for everything and anything my team sends me. Sometimes you don’t know exactly what project is until you book it.
MPN: You’ve done lots of work for traditional television outlets and studios. What was different/similar about participating in a project that would appear on a free streaming service such as Tubi? Had you watched the service before?
Espiritu: I actually didn’t know about Tubi until working on this. It’s great that there are so many outlets now for filmmakers and storytellers to showcase their work. I feel like, with the advent of streaming networks, more diverse stories and points of view can be told. We need more of that in the world today. I think that acting and storytelling can help the world become a more empathetic place.
MPN: Can you describe your on-set experience? Are there any fun stories?
Espiritu: I loved working on this. First of all, the location in Long Beach was beautiful. The Queen Mary is such a majestic ship and imbued with so much history, I felt like it was like a fairytale in a way … well, a haunted fairy tale, because it is haunted in real life. I had an orb show up in my behind-the-scenes pictures and I ended up getting freaked out, so I asked production if I could stay in my car or hang out with the background talent instead of being alone in my room.
MPN: Can you describe the character you play? What did you identify with most about your character?
Espiritu: With Nancy, I have an affinity for the loner, losers and outcasts, because I definitely feel like one a lot in my life. Her breakdown was: “She has no life or friends and is a super fan of the influencers.” It was easy for me to do because I tend to put people on a pedestal in my real life and I’m an introvert by nature.
MPN: What was your favorite scene?
Espiritu: I loved running around like a crazy person in the ballroom when the ship crashes into the iceberg, but my favorite scene to film was when Mia (Annalynne McCord), Jackson (Derek Yates) and I find Idina (Lydia Hearst) doing her seance because we actually got to go down into the boiler room.
MPN: How would you describe Titanic 666 to viewers? What kind of fans will like it?
Espiritu: If you love campy movies like Sharknado, I think you’ll enjoy it. It is a silly, fun, titillating ride. It knows what kind of movie it wants to be.
MPN: In addition to being a performer, you are also active politically. How does your political activism inform and affect your career choices?
Espiritu: My identity is already political. I used to be an undocumented dreamer born to a teenage mom. I spent time in a Biblical Doomsday cult as a teen. I became a young mom myself and had to learn how to navigate the world as a single parent trying to make ends meet on gig work. Most of my storytelling comes from that worldview where I try to heal generational trauma, and dismantle the patriarchy mainly because I’m trying to figure out and heal myself through art.
MPN: What’s next for you?
Espiritu: I’m traveling to Indonesia this week to do some scouting and research for a feature film that I’ve been commissioned to write. Hopefully, I’ll direct it. I also have a few shorts in development and I’ve been kicking around the idea of doing a personal documentary since my upbringing is so unusual. And I’ll be performing in a benefit production of The Vagina Monologues at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco at the end of May. V, formerly known as Eve Ensler, who wrote the play, will also be there, so I’m super excited. I admire her so much. Her work has sparked movements of education for women globally.
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.”
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.
Major advertising-funded VOD platforms have joined the original content goldrush, with services such as Roku, Tubi and IMDb TV collectively releasing more than 100 new original titles in the past two years, according to a new report from Ampere Analysis.
Also, U.S. AVOD services with the highest investment in original content have seen the largest growth in usage, according to Ampere. Tubi, which has launched 20 original titles, saw monthly usage grow by 164%, by Ampere’s estimates, between Q3 2020 and Q3 2021.
AVOD originals cannot compete with titles from larger SVOD services, which are also creating more originals. AVOD platforms can’t match the billions of dollars spent by the leading SVOD players in the creation of original content, according to Ampere. AVOD services are smaller in scale, and the advertising business model will struggle to justify the sorts of multi-million-dollars-per-hour content investments which the leading SVOD players have applied to new flagship titles. However, according to Ampere’s analysts, one fundamental calculation for investing in original content remains true for both service types: As platforms expand globally, original content investments scale well. Investing in originals is a consistent way to offer exclusive content worldwide without incurring additional licensing costs in each market, according to Ampere.
Additionally, while AVOD originals do not yet provide enough of a draw to pull viewers away from larger SVOD platforms entirely, they do differentiate services within the increasingly fragmented AVOD market, and offer a reason for viewers to choose one service over another, according to Ampere.
Roku has invested more extensively in original-branded content, in part because of its acquisitions of Quibi’s content assets and its focus on low-cost-per-hour content. Of the six most popular AVOD platforms in the United States, Pluto TV is the only one not to have invested meaningfully in original programming — although it is in a position to take advantage of the programming slate of its parent company — Paramount — and outside the United States has become the temporary home for hit Paramount originals such as “Star Trek: Discovery.”
“Despite AVOD originals not having an impact in the wider streaming market — largely limited by their current lack of reach — AVOD platforms should not stop their investment,” said Joseph Hall, analyst at Ampere Analysis, in a statement. “Our analysis shows that the AVOD platforms with the highest growth in use since Q3 2020 are those with the most released or announced original programming.”
Fox Corp’s ad-supported streaming service Tubi Feb. 9 announced findings from its annual audience report that revealed the platform generated 3.6 billion hours streamed in 2021, up 40% in total viewing time from 2020. The service said its incremental audience continues to complement other video investments — with 71% of Tubi streamers unreachable on cable, 56% unreachable on linear TV, and 27% unreachable on any other major free streaming platform.
“Our findings bring AVOD to the forefront of streaming investment planning for brands in 2022, as well as a necessary complement to existing linear TV strategy,” Natalie Bastian, SVP of marketing at Tubi, said in a statement. “By accessing Fox’s desirable audience as well as partnering with next generation platforms to reach audiences not found on linear television — and it’s paid off with rapid growth among key audience segments.”
Tubi, which based its report on a fourth-quarter online survey of 6,003 adult streamers over 18 years of age, contends streaming’s audience will grow larger than paid streaming by middle of the year.
It claims AVOD audiences grew twice as fast (+16%) as SVOD (+8%) in 2021. In 2022, the survey projects that the current 5% gap in market penetration will close, with the number of AVOD users surpassing SVOD. This is attributable to a variety of factors, including subscription fatigue, ubiquitous hardware, cord cutting and increased broadband access.
Tubi said AVOD adoption was led by the young (who still over-index vs. general population), but mature, educated and affluent audiences are growing rapidly. Tubi has seen double-digit growth in all audience segments over the past year — with the most growth among college educated and affluent ($100k+ households) demos, placing Tubi on par with U.S. national averages. With an average viewer 16+ years younger than non-streamers, Tubi’s audience has become nationally representative across geographic, economic and educational segments, and includes a large multicultural audience, comprising 40% of its user base.
The report said streaming platforms are garnering distinct, loyal audiences, while maintaining audience overlap with SVOD. Streamers continue to gravitate to specific AVOD services as their “television of choice,” while being selective about which services they pay a premium for. Factors that determine AVOD selection in a crowded marketplace include ease of use, content, personalization and user experience. Currently, over a quarter (27%) of Tubi streamers can’t be reached on any other major AVOD service: 78% aren’t on Peacock, and 62% aren’t on Hulu; however, 71% subscribe to Netflix, currently unreachable by ads.
Tubi said streaming will become the fastest growing video format in both viewership and media investment. Connected-TV and over-the-top ad spend grew 34% in 2021, compared with 7.4% for national broadcast and cable. The report projects that half of all internet users will use free streaming services by 2024, and by 2026, AVOD revenues will triple 2021 levels, reaching $31.5 billion.
Fox Corp. on Feb. 9 reported a second quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2021) loss of $85 million on revenue of $4.44 billion. That compares with net income of $224 million on revenue of $4.09 billion in the previous-year period.
While some of the revenue gain was attributable to increased Fox Nation subscriptions and Tubi advertising revenue, the platforms also generated higher operating expenses.
The media giant has staked much of its future on digital distribution, including both subscription and ad-supported streaming video properties Fox Nation and Tubi, respectively.
Fox Nation helped increase “other” segment revenue nearly 22% to $145 million from $119 million in the prior-year period. But operating expenses in the “cable network programming” unit, which includes the SVOD service and higher programming rights amortization at the national sports networks, increased almost 6.5% to $837 million, compared with $786 million in expenses a year ago.
In the television business segment, which includes Tubi, as well as the acquisitions of MarVista Entertainment and TMZ, the properties helped increase “other” revenue almost 25% to $156 million, from revenue of $125 million a year earlier. Total TV unit revenue increased almost 8% to $2.7 billion, from $2.5 billion a year ago.
At the same time, Fox’s decision to focus its over-the-top video goals around AVOD and free ad-supported streaming television, instead of SVOD, upped the segment’s operating expenses more than 10% to $2.8 billion, compared with operating expenses of $2.5 billion a year earlier. Tubi was prominently featured across Fox NFL broadcasts throughout the quarter.
The segment reported a pretax loss of $273 million, as compared to a loss of $185 million reported in the prior year quarter, as the revenue increases were more than offset by higher expenses, including increased digital investment at Tubi.
Tubi, like most streaming properties, has begun to invest in original programming rather than recycle catalog content. The platform is set to bow original Valentine’s Day themed movie 10 Truths About Love on Feb. 11, starring Camilla Belle. Last December, Tubi announced a film distribution deal with the Village Roadshow Entertainment Group to produce multiple films from the latter’s newly announced “Black Noir Cinema” initiative.
Tubi said it streamed 3.6 billion hours in 2021, a 40% year-over-year increase in total viewing time across its library of more than 40,000 titles.
Regardless, Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch said the quarterly results faced tough comparisons from 2021 when many of the company’s platforms benefited from national election spending.
“Against the high bar we set in our fiscal second quarter last year, we have once again delivered revenue and [pretax] growth, while continuing to invest in our digital growth initiatives,” Murdoch said in a statement. “This focused portfolio is delivering consistent growth for our shareholders in a thoughtful and disciplined manner.”
Tubi, Fox Entertainment’s ad-supported free streaming service, is set to bow Valentine’s Day themed movie 10 Truths About Love on Feb. 11, starring Camilla Belle (Dollface, 10,000 BC). The movie joins new romantic comedies and dramas available on Tubi this month, including Crazy, Stupid, Love., He’s Just Not That Into You, Forever Young, William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, 500 Days of Summer and A Walk to Remember, among others.
“The movie has all the ingredients of a timeless rom-com — a budding romance, more than a little mystery, and a charming, breakthrough performance by lead actress Camilla Belle,” Adam Lewinson, chief content officer, Tubi, said in a statement.
Belle plays Carina Franklin, a thriving romance columnist who thinks she’s got life and love figured out … until her longtime boyfriend unexpectedly breaks up with her. At the same time, Carina’s editor hires a new writer, Liam (David Lafontaine, Molly’s Game), to work with her and give the column a male perspective. The two clash over their approach … and sparks fly. To prove himself, Liam offers to help Carina get her ex-boyfriend back. But in the process of proving each other wrong, they begin to realize they may be right for each other.
The movie ss executive-produced by former Lifetime and Hallmark Channel executive Barbara Fisher, Tom Berry, Suzanne Chapman and Laurence Braun.
Additional titles with a romantic themes coming to Tubi this month include original movie Howard High, in addition to catalog titles Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Must Love Dogs, Sense and Sensibility, Some Kind of Beautiful, My Girl, All the Pretty Horses, Just Friends, Garden State, Playing for Keeps (2012), Damsel, The Young Victoria, Only Lovers Left Alive, Winter’s Tale, The Sweetest Thing, Why Do Fools Fall in Love?, Poetic Justice, Dance With Me, Music and Lyrics, City of Angels, Little Italy, Romeo & Juliet (2013), New York, I Love You, Once, Two Night Stand, The Family Stone, Purple Rain, John Tucker Must Die, I Love You Phillip Morris, Can’t Buy Me Love (1987), The Choice, Love Don’t Cost A Thing and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.
HBO Max, which provided same-day theatrical releases, was the most-downloaded entertainment app in 2021, according to data from Apptopia.
The top list, specifically for the United States, included Tubi, an advertising supported video service (AVOD) bought by Fox in May 2020; 2021 has been the best year for AVOD apps in the United States by measure of downloads, according to Apptopia. As judged by U.S. monthly active users, Tubi is leading the way.
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.
“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.