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.”

Reports: AVOD Revenue to Grow 25% in 2020

Subscription streaming video’s counterpart, advertising-supported VOD, continues to gain traction among consumers — and advertisers. New data from eMarketer suggests AVOD revenue will grow more than 25% this year compared to 2019.

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

“AVOD advertising benefitted from heightened usage and a mix shift in advertising budgets to OTT platforms, growing sizably in the quarter,” senior analyst Michael Nathanson wrote in a note.

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Speaking Aug. 20 on the DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group Mid-Year 2020 Digital Media Entertainment Report webcast, Nathanson called AVOD the underreported streaming video story.

“That 28% of streaming minutes is where we think the streaming wars are actually happening,” Nathanson said.

With many of the AVOD players owned by major media companies, much of the ad growth would appear to be due to shifting third-party ad dollars from linear TV to connected televisions.

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But with four of the five AVOD platforms owned by major media conglomerates, some of this growth is likely coming from reallocated TV spend. eMarketer contends the 31% rise in AVOD revenue among the top platforms compares with an estimated 28% decline in national broadcast and cable TV ad spending in Q2, according to Nathanson.

Eric Haggstrom, forecasting analyst at Insider Intelligence at eMarketer, believes that while marketers warm to AVOD, much of the revenue revolves around media giants pushing advertisers to proprietary streaming platforms.

“Some advertisers who bought ads in the upfronts are shifting money within the same media company to streaming services,” Haggstrom said.

Indeed, Tubi earlier this year added all episodes of Fox’s “Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back,” in addition to 300 hours of separate Ramsay content, which includes “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Kitchen Nightmares” and “The F Word.” Tubi also added Fox’s music competition show “The Masked Singer.”

“Making this show available on Tubi alongside Gordon’s other series, will only grow his footprint while also further promoting his programs on Fox,” said Rob Wade, president of alternative entertainment and specials at Fox Entertainment.

Tubi Names Carolyn Forrest SVP, General Counsel

AVOD service Tubi, a division of Fox Entertainment, has named Carolyn Forrest SVP, general counsel.

Forrest moves into the new role from Fox Television Stations.

She reports to Tubi CEO Farhad Massoudi, is based in San Francisco, and will serve as the company’s chief legal officer, overseeing its business affairs and legal team and advising on broad-ranging media law-related issues.

“Carolyn combines vast knowledge across the industry with a proven track record of guiding media companies with strategic IP legal oversight,” Massoudi said in a statement. “We’re thrilled she will be joining us at a key time for the company as we ramp up our global content and advertising initiatives.”

Forrest has worked as an in-house counsel for media companies for the past 28 years. Most recently, she served as VP of legal affairs for Fox Television Stations, where she was responsible for advising its 29 television stations on media law-related issues. Prior to joining Fox, she was VP and general counsel for New World Television, which Fox acquired in 1997, and she worked for NBC as an assistant general attorney. Prior to that, Forrest worked for Dow Lohnes & Albertson as an associate in the media litigation group and at the New York law firm Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom as an associate in its corporate and M&A litigation group.

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Forrest is currently serving as the immediate past chair of the American Bar Association Forum on Communications Law — previously serving as its chairperson and as a member of its Governing Committee. She also serves on the board of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation. Forrest is a graduate of Columbia University School of Law and Princeton University.

With total view time reaching 200 million hours of content streamed in April, Tubi (www.tubi.tv) has more than 20,000 movies and television shows from every major Hollywood studio, according to the service.

‘Joy of Painting’ Coming to AVOD Service Tubi Via Cinedigm’s Docurama Channel

Fox Entertainment’s AVOD service Tubi (www.tubi.tv) bring 30 seasons of cult show “The Joy of Painting,” featuring the Bob Ross, to its library on the Docurama channel from Cinedigm.

More than 30 seasons and nearly 400 episodes will stream on Tubi by the end of July.

“Bob Ross and his unforgettable style make ‘The Joy of Painting’ the epitome of comfort TV,” said Adam Lewinson, chief content officer of Tubi, in a statement. “Tubi is proud to be a streaming home for this timeless and beloved series.”

“’The Joy of Painting’ has never been more popular, as evidenced by the ever-growing following and tremendous view count that Ross has garnered on social media platforms,” said Erick Opeka, president of Cinedigm Digital Networks, in a statement. “We are thrilled to be working with Tubi to introduce new audiences to this iconic program.”

In 1983 along with his partners Annette and Walt Kowalski, Ross launched the show on public television. From 1983 through 1994, Bob recorded more than 400 episodes and “The Joy of Painting” became one of the most popular and well-known shows on public television. His passion for teaching and inspiring others lives on today through the thousands of instructors who teach his method around the world. For many fans, Ross is the “King of ASMR,” the audio sensory meridian response that keeps people tuned in and watching his every move. He can also be found today at the forefront of an exciting and inspirational wellness movement.

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With total view time reaching a milestone 200 million hours of content streamed in April, Tubi has more 20,000 movies and television shows from nearly every major Hollywood studio.

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, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, and soon on Hisense TVs globally. Consumers can also watch Tubi content on the web at http://www.tubi.tv/.

Tubi Adds Another Fox Primetime Series

Fox-owned AVOD service Tubi is adding free streaming access to network TV show “Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back.” All episodes of the first two seasons are now available, while current season-three episodes will be available on Tubi a week following their broadcast on Fox.

The series is part of San Francisco-based Tubi’s 300-hour offering of Gordon Ramsay content, which includes “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Kitchen Nightmares” and “The F Word.”

Earlier this week Tubi added Fox’s music competition show “The Masked Singer.”

“Making this show available on Tubi, alongside Gordon’s other series, will only grow his footprint while also further promoting his programs on Fox,” Rob Wade, president of alternative entertainment and specials at Fox Entertainment, said in a statement.

“24 Hours to Hell and Back” follows Ramsay as he drives across the country to help struggling restaurants in his state-of-the-art mobile kitchen and command center, Hell on Wheels. From California’s coastline to the heart of New Jersey and everywhere in between, Gordon is joined by celebrities and local experts, as he tries to bring each of these failing restaurants back from the brink of disaster — all in just 24 hours.

Fox says the cooking show is No. 1 for the 2019-20 season among adults 18-49 and total viewers. The series averages 4.6 million multi-platform viewers, up +113% from its live + same-day delivery.

Parks: 76% of U.S. Broadband Homes Subscribe to OTT Service

With many parts of the country under quarantine measures due to the coronavirus, new data from Parks Associates finds that about six million households added high-speed Internet service in the first quarter (ended March 31).

In a survey of 10,000 respondents from March 8 and April 3, Dallas-based Parks found 76% of domestic broadband households subscribe to an over-the-top video service, with adoption of online pay-TV services such as YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV and Sling TV up 12%.

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“We are closely tracking shifts in technology use at home, as shelter-in-place orders have continued as a result of COVID-19,” research director Steve Nason said in a statement. “Consumers are experimenting with watching video on different services and different devices.”

Nason contends consumer sampling of services (i.e., free trials) could lead to reduced spending per month on SVOD services combined, a boost in ad-based VOD services, and shifts in what content consumers are watching.

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Separate data tracking from subsidiary Reelgood of 4.8 million OTT users from March 16 to April 26 found that during widespread stay-at-home mandates, viewers flocked to Netflix, with the most popular shows being “Ozark,” “Money Heist, and “Tiger King.” The most popular movie was Parasite.

In a time of uncertainty, genres such as comedy, faith and spirituality and kids upped viewership with slight declines in horror, war and crime.

Parks said the TV show “Doctor Foster” and the movie Silver Linings Playbook had the most significant jumps in popularity from pre-COVID (February 17 to March 15) to post-COVID (March 16 to April 26).

“One of the biggest shifts — and opportunities — that we’re noticing is the massive spike in children’s content available to stream,” said Catharine Burhenne, head of marketing at Reelgood.

Burhenne says entertainment businesses thriving during the COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 eras will be the ones that can cater their offerings to accommodate the huge appetite for streaming kids content.

“Tubi’s launch of their Tubi Kids app is an example of businesses capitalizing on this opportunity,” she said.

Tubi Begins Streaming ‘The Masked Singer’ Episodes

Ad-supported VOD service Tubi April 23 announced it has begun streaming the first two seasons of Fox singing competition show “The Masked Singer” — the No. 1 show on television in its third season. It is the highest-profile program on Tubi.

Fox Corp. acquired San Francisco-based Tubi earlier this year for $440 million in cash.

The first two seasons can be viewed tonight at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT. Current season-three episodes of the show will be available on Tubi in the weeks following their airing on Fox.

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“The Masked Singer” features celebrities facing off against one another with one major twist: Each singer is shrouded from head-to-toe in an elaborate costume, complete with a full-face mask to conceal his or her identity.

With each performance, host Nick Cannon, panelists Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger, Ken Jeong, and Robin Thicke, audience members, viewers, and even other contestants are left guessing who is singing behind the mask. Ranging from Grammy Award winners to legendary athletes, and everything in between, the singers may attempt to throw the crowd off their scent, while keen observers might pick up on tiny clues buried throughout the show. One singer is eliminated each week, ultimately revealing his or her true identity.

“This marks the first of many new initiatives we’ll pursue with Fox,”Adam Lewinson, chief content officer of Tubi, said in a statement.

“The Masked Singer” is averaging a 3.3 Live + 7 Day rating and 15 million viewers across all platforms. Fox claims the show has helped it win Wednesday night ratings every week it’s been on the air. The season-three premiere after Super Bowl LIV drew nearly 30 million viewers and a 9.4 L7 rating, marking television’s #1 entertainment telecast in two years and the highest-rated and most-watched reality telecast in eight years.

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Tubi Kids Expands to Apple iOS Devices

Tubi April 20 expanded the reach of its Tubi Kids library of 1,200 free, ad-supported, age-appropriate movies, and television shows to Apple iOS users. Tubi Kids, which together with Tubi, is owned by Fox Corp. The platform is also available on Android, Roku, Fire TV, Comcast Xfinity, Xbox One, Cox Contour and TiVo.

” [Now more] kids will have easy access to some of the world’s most beloved characters in movies and TV, absolutely cost-free,” chief product officer Michael Ahiakpor said in a statement.

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Designed as a destination for age-appropriate content on the service, Tubi Kids is touted as alleviating parents’ worries over what their children are watching. Movies include Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of TinTin, Norm of the North and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, alongside series such as “Sonic the Hedgehog,” “Strawberry Shortcake,” “Paddington Bear” and “The Wiggles,” among others.

With total view time surpassing 163 million hours watched last December, Tubi claims to be the world’s largest ad-supported video on demand service with more than 20,000 movies and television shows from nearly every major Hollywood studio.

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Tubi is also available on 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, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, and soon on Hisense TVs globally. Consumers can also watch Tubi content on the web at https://tubitv.com/.

Tubi: Quarantined Americans Streaming Video 8 Hours Daily

To Americans taking shelter-in-place seriously, streaming video has become a must-see practice, according to new data from ad-supported video-on-demand service Tubi.

In a self-promoting study of 2,000 survey respondents conducted by One Poll, Fox Corp.-owned Tubi found the average respondent streams eight hours of video content daily, including binge-viewing three TV shows per week. Some respondents binged streamed (three consecutive episodes or more) in 48 hours or less.

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The report found that the average respondent has access to four streaming services, with 38% claiming access to five or more. Another 65% of adults admitted to allowing their children to stream more content, while 47% said they are using free streaming services (Tubi, Crackle, Shout! TV, The Roku Channel, Redbox TV, IMDb TV, etc.) to watch movies and TV shows to complement their existing subscription services or help cut costs.

That’s the kind of data that propelled Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox last month to spend $440 million acquiring San Francisco-based Tubi. ViacomCBS spent about $100 million less acquiring Los Angeles-based Pluto TV the year before.

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“Whether you’re looking for new TV shows and movies to round out your streaming library, or you want to save a bit of money, checking out free, ad-supported streaming services is a great option,” read the report.

Tubi recently partnered with TransUnion to enhance the way consumers engage and interact with content, while rolling out “Tubi Kids” programming on April 14. The platform claims viewers consumed 163 million hours of ad-supported VOD content in December.