Tubi Execs See Bright Future in AVOD

LAS VEGAS — The ad-supported video-on-demand streaming service Tubi touts itself as having the largest library in the space, at about 20,000 titles, four times that of Netflix, and Tubi executives see a bright future in the free alternative to subscription VOD.

“I think 2020 is going to be the year of AVOD,” said Tubi CEO Farhad Massoudi in an interview with Media Play News at CES. “I think there are going to be a lot of new players in the space, and I very much welcome it.”

Mark Rotblat

Tubi logged 20 million monthly active users as of June 2019, and 132 million hours a month as of September, noted chief revenue officer Mark Rotblat.

The service is on more than two dozen platforms, including Vizio, Samsung, Sony and Google; at CES, Tubi announced the addition of its service to Hisense’s Vidaa platform in spring 2020.

AVOD is gaining ground as cord cutting accelerates. In the third quarter of 2019, 2 million households cut the cord, up from a half million in the previous-year quarter, Massoudi noted.

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Also, the consumer is being inundated with existing and new SVOD platforms, with longtime players Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu joined by recent entrants Disney+ and Apple TV+ and upcoming services, such as WarnerMedia’s HBO Max.

“Subscription fatigue is a real problem,” Massoudi said. “The idea of subscribing to all these services is just crazy.”

SVOD services will increasingly focus on original content, he noted.

“The role of SVOD will be providing original content to justify the expense on your bill,” he said.

Meanwhile, AVOD services such as Tubi are mining catalog, and deep catalog at that.

“By definition AVOD is not a content forward property,” Massoudi said. “We will never get a shiny title like ‘Friends’ [for which WarnerMedia paid nearly half a billion dollars for streaming rights].”

In contrast, Tubi is judicious about spending on content.

“If I have $1, I can put it on one title or I can aggregate five titles for that dollar and have more viewership,” Massoudi said.

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While Tubi welcomes competitors, Massoudi said the service has a technological jump on new entrants.

“We’re well ahead of the market,” he said, adding studios or other companies looking to enter the AVOD space “would have to do a massive tech investment,” such as the investment Tubi has made in its recommendation engine.

“Content isn’t enough,” he said.

Tubi’s machine learning helps viewers personalize their content and wade through the thousands of available titles.

Massoudi and Rotblat would not reveal any revenue numbers for the independent company. They noted that over the past nine years, the company has raised a mere $35 million, meaning ad revenues are a key driver of the business.

“We are doing financially very well,” said the CEO, noting the staff has doubled to more than 220 in the past year.

While Viacom snapped up AVOD player Pluto TV, Massoudi said Tubi isn’t interested in being acquired.

“We’re focused on being independent,” he said. “We want to take this public.”

Tubi Service Coming to Hisense’s Vidaa Platform

AVOD service Tubi has entered into a deal with Vidaa International, a subsidiary of TV manufacturer Hisense, to offer its library of more than 20,000 movies and TV shows on Hisense’s new Vidaa platform.

Beginning in spring 2020, Tubi customers in the United States, Canada and Australia, as well as the United Kingdom — where Tubi will launch later this year — will have access to the Tubi library of content on the new platform. The new Hisense TVs powered by Vidaa will have Tubi preloaded and prominently placed on its home screen.

“We’re excited to expand Tubi’s device footprint to include Hisense televisions with the new Vidaa platform, continuing our mission to make entertainment more accessible to everyone,” said Michael Ahiakpor, chief product officer at Tubi, in a statement. “Hisense has been a global leader in consumer electronics and is a perfect partner as we ramp up our international expansion in 2020.”

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In September 2019, Tubi announced customers had streamed more than 132 million hours of content — a 40% increase since May — and the service will launch in the United Kingdom in 2020. In addition to Hisense televisions, Tubi is available on Android and iOS mobile devices, Amazon Echo Show, Comcast Xfinity X1, Cox Contour, and on OTT devices such as Amazon Fire TV, Sony TVs, Samsung TVs, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Android TV, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. Consumers can also watch Tubi content on the web at www.tubi.tv.

The newest range of Hisense’s ULED TVs with the Vidaa platform includes Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos. The next generation of Hisense ULED TVs features its proprietary smart TV Operating System (OS), Vidaa U4.

AVOD: Quiet Before the Storm

With the crush of new subscription streaming VOD services entering 2020, new data from Ampere Analysis suggests ad-supported VOD, or AVOD, will build scale and roll-out internationally this year.

While AVOD use within the United States remains small compared to SVOD (from 3% to 6% of domestic online households), London-based Ampere believes this to be merely the quiet before the storm.

Major AVOD players include Pluto TV, Tubi, Crackle, Vudu, IMDb TV, Roku TV, Xumo TV, Shout! Factory TV and pending Peacock from NBC Universal, which will also be SVOD, among others.

Specifically, the researcher contends AVOD is filling the niche previously targeted by SVOD: catalog content. As SVOD services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu migrate toward original programming, AVOD streams older content for free — with advertising.

The proportion of Netflix’s catalog more than five years old fell from 50% in Sept. 2015 to 35% in Sept. 2019 — a trend that will continue across the sector. In the meantime, the long tail of older content has been embraced by the new AVOD services, who average nearly 80% of their catalog at five years old by title count, and in the case of Crackle, 70% of content is over 10 years old.

This demand for older content not only provides a new market for licensing deep archive, but also offers a boon for distributors and sales agents, according to Ampere.

“AVOD is coming, and it’s going to make its mark on the VOD landscape rapidly,” Guy Bisson, director at Ampere, said in a statement. “Its impact will be felt not just by the entertainment industry, but by advertising too as the shift that has already disrupted the subscription television market sweeps across the free-to-air sector.”

As advertisers rush to support AVOD, online video advertising will inevitably increase as the platforms spread globally in 2020. To date this form of advertising has remained relatively small — even in developed markets like the U.S. where 27.2% of online ad spend is on video, and in Canada where it’s just 5.85%.

Ampere expects the rush to AVOD to be supercharged by some of the studio direct models such as Disney’s Hulu and Peacock, which are expected to adopt a hybrid SVOD/AVOD model.

“AVOD services are treading a well-trodden path with an early reliance on older content, but as their market position grows, we can expect them to begin acquiring newer content and even moving into original production activity as they battle for eyeballs in an increasingly crowded market,” Bisson said.

Tubi AVOD Content Available on Amazon Echo Devices

Ad-supported VOD service Tubi Nov. 21 announced its library of more than 15,000 movies and TV shows is now available to stream on Amazon Echo Show devices. The first AVOD service available on the device, consumers can ask Alexa to launch Tubi and begin watching a title or touch the screen to control their experience.

In addition to the more than 44,000 hours of content Tubi offers, Amazon Echo Show users can stream Tubi’s new December titles, including Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill Vol. I and Kill Bill Vol. II, as well as the eleven-time Academy Award-nominated film, The Aviator, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

“We are committed to making great content accessible for everyone, which is why we’re proud to be the first AVOD service available on Amazon Echo Show,” Michael Ahiakpor, chief product officer at Tubi, said in a statement. “We’re also excited that Tubi users will now be able to use Alexa to conveniently find and watch movies and TV shows.”

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In September, Tubi announced customers had streamed over 132 million hours of content — a 40% increase since May — and the service will launch in the United Kingdom in 2020.

In addition to Amazon Echo Show, Tubi is available on Android and iOS mobile devices, Comcast Xfinity X1, Cox Contour, and on OTT devices such as Amazon Fire TV, Sony TVs, Samsung TVs Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Android TV, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. Consumers can also watch Tubi content on the web at www.tubi.tv.

Tale of the Tape: Streaming Video War Fees

With the streaming video market beginning to resemble a heavyweight prize fight involving numerous contenders, a “tale of the tape” analysis is in order to better understand costs associated with each “fighter” (service).

Apple launched Apple TV+ on Nov.1 for $4.99 — arguably the lowest-priced SVOD service on the market. The service is considered a significant threat to Netflix ($8.99) due to the Apple name and star-studded content (“The Morning Show,” starring Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell and Reese Witherspoon).

Wedbush Securities contends Apple TV+ can generate 100 million subs in the next four years due in part to a global iPhone install base of around 900 million users.

“While this is an obvious threat to Netflix, Apple TV+ only has a handful of shows at launch,” analyst Michael Pachter wrote in a note.

The Nov. 12 launch of Disney+ ($6.99) could cost Netflix 25% of total viewing hours as much Disney/Fox content migrates from the SVOD pioneer to Disney+, according to Wedbush.

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Disney/Fox controls all of Netflix’s canceled Marvel Defenders Universe series (“Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones,” “The Punisher,” “Luke Cage” and “Iron Fist”) and Disney+’s upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe series (“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” “Wanda Vision,” “Loki,” “What If…?,” and “Hawkeye”), popular series such as “The Simpsons,” and an unrivaled film library.

“We estimate that by the end of 2021, Netflix will have virtually no content from Disney, Fox, Warner Bros. or NBC Universal, and we think its efforts to replace that content with originals will only partially succeed,” Pachter wrote.

Disney earlier this year agreed to purchase Comcast’s stake in Hulu ($5.99) for about $5.8 billion by 2024. While Hulu continues to lose billions, which amount to the excess license fees paid to corporate owners over the revenue it generates, Pachter contends if Disney can grow Hulu’s subscriber base, it should be able to achieve breakeven and manage to gain market share from Netflix.

Disney is offering a subscription package with Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu to drive greater subscriber adoption of all services.

As Netflix has developed more than 100 original series seasons outside of the U.S., it has relied on ‘second window’ content for the bulk of its viewing hours, according to Pachter.

“We estimate that fully 90% of viewing hours on Netflix are consumed by second window shows, and we estimate that Disney, Fox, Warner Bros. and NBC Universal account for 65% of total Netflix viewing hours,” he wrote.

Pachter estimates that by the end of 2021, Netflix will have virtually no content from Disney, Fox, Warner Bros. or NBC Universal.

“The company’s licensing of ‘Seinfeld,’ beginning in 2021 will help to soften the blow, and we expect [the show] to account for 5% or more of Netflix viewing hours,” wrote the analyst.

In 2015, Amazon Prime Channels began partnering with various third-party SVOD services offering domestic Prime members access to curated groups of content.

Monthly fees vary from $2.99 to $9.95 following a free trial period lasting between seven and thirty days. Showtime and Starz are priced at $8.99 each. Amazon has since added more channels, including HBO for $14.99 and Cinemax for $9.99.

AT&T TV Now: $135.00 Ultimate — 125+ live channels; $124.00 Xtra — 105+ live channels; $110.00 Choice — 85+ live channels; $93.00 Entertainment — 65+ live channels; $86.00 Optimo Más — 90+ live channels; $70.00 Max — 50+ live channels, including HBO and Cinemax; $50.00 Plus — 40+ live channels, includes HBO.

Hulu with Live TV: $50.99 No commercials plus live TV; $44.99 Limited commercials plus live TV.

YouTube TV: $50.00 YouTube TV — stream live TV from 50+ networks; $11.99 YouTube Premium — ad-free and offline video and music.

Sling TV: $25.00 Sling Orange — 34 channels of live shows, sports, and news; $25.00 Sling Blue — 47 channels of local tv, regional sports, and live shows, sports and news.

Netflix: $15.99 four-screen ultra-high-definition streaming; $12.99 two-screen high-definition streaming; $8.99 single-screen standard definition streaming.

HBO Now: $14.99 Standalone subscription to stream HBO on demand.

HBO Max: $14.99 Arriving May 2020; new home of HBO and WarnerMedia (Warner Bros., New Line, DC Entertainment, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, The CW, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, Looney Tunes, and more. Will have original programming, exclusive streaming rights to “Friends,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “Pretty Little Liars.”

Cinemax: $9.99 Max Go — standalone subscription to stream Cinemax on demand.

Amazon Prime Video: $12.99 monthly Prime membership; $9.92 annual Prime membership for $119 per year; $8.99 standalone video subscription.

Hulu: $5.99; $11.99 no-commercials subscription option for all non-live content.

Showtime: $10.99 standalone subscription to stream Showtime on demand.

Starz: $8.99 Standalone subscription to stream Starz on demand.

Apple TV+: $4.99 ad-free monthly subscription for original content; TV App includes access to subscribed cable content and most standalone SVOD subscriptions.

Disney+: $6.99 Standalone subscription to stream Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and some Fox content (“Simpsons”); Will be offered in a bundle with Hulu and ESPN+.

Peacock: Price not disclosed. Expect a standalone subscription from Comcast to stream NBC Universal content to be launched mid-2020.

The Roku Channel: Ad-supported service for accessing live content, movies, and series on demand provided by partners; accessible via Roku device or web browser.

IMDb TV: Ad-supported service for accessing movies and series on demand provided by partners; accessible via IMDB.com or any Fire TV devices.

Crackle: Ad-supported service for accessing movies and series on demand provided by Sony Pictures and content partners, accessible via most connected devices.

Tubi: Ad-supported service claims 20 million average monthly users and more than 132 million hours streamed in September alone.

 

Ad-Supported VOD Service Tubi Launching Kids Platform, Service in U.K.

Tubi, the San Francisco-based ad-supported video-on-demand service, Oct. 14 announced it would launch ‘Tubi Kids’ Oct. 21 in the United States, in addition to service operations in the United Kingdom in 2020.

The AVOD made the announcements during a keynote address at MIPCOM in Cannes, France.

Tubi Kids will feature a library of content featuring more than 1,200 age-appropriate movies and television shows or 5,000+ hours of content in a dedicated section built just for families.

In November the platform will include movies How to Train Your Dragon, Norm of the North, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, alongside series featuring characters Sonic the Hedgehog, Strawberry Shortcake, Paddington Bear and The Wiggles, among others.

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“The launch of Tubi Kids reinforces our dedication to offer an age-appropriate viewing environment — super-serving kids and families with a robust amount of content,” CEO Farhad Massoudi said in a statement.

Tubi said it streamed more than 132 million hours of content in September — a 40% increase in four months.

New titles currently available include Megamind, starring Will Ferrell and Tina Fey, Scary Movie 1 and 2, starring Marlon Wayans and Anna Faris, the Academy Award-winner No Country for Old Men, directed by Joel & Ethan Cohen, and the 13th season of the reality TV series “The Bachelorette.”

Massoudi said the U.K. launch would be the first of several forthcoming international territories for the AVOD service.

“[We] look forward to announcing them soon,” he said.

 

AVOD Service Tubi Launches in Australia

AVOD service Tubi will launch in Australia Sept. 1.

Customers there will have access to an initial offering of nearly 7,000 movies and TV series, which will rapidly expand in the near future, according to Tubi. Titles immediately available on the service include 3:10 to Yuma, The Blair Witch Project, Kickboxer and Stranger Than Fiction, with additional titles to be made available over the next six months, including Dirty DancingThe Grudge, Requiem for a Dream, Reservoir Dogs, SawTraffic and Young Guns.

“We’re excited to offer Tubi in Australia, as the first of many launch initiatives to advance our global footprint,” said Tubi CEO Farhad Massoudi in a statement. “Our library size in Australia will expand rapidly in the coming months and eventually grow to our current library size in the U.S. of 15,000 titles — and beyond. We look forward to further activating new audiences who will discover the growing value of free video on demand.”

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Customers in Australia will be able to access Tubi via Telstra TV, Tubi.TV, or through nearly any internet-connected screen including Samsung TVs, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast and Apple iOS, as well as Android tablets and smartphones, according to Tubi. The service will also be available via game consoles, including PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

AVOD Service Tubi Targets Netflix, Hulu in Outdoor Branding Campaign

Tubi, the San Francisco-based ad-supported streaming video service, has rolled out what it says is its largest-ever outdoor branding campaign.

Beginning Aug. 5, billboards and high-res images, including, “Dear Netflix, I had my first freesome last night. Tubi was amazing,” and “Dear Hulu, I was with Tubi last night, but I only watched,” will be on display along high-traffic locations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Detroit.

The creatives are a tongue-in-cheek campaign that takes into account the price hikes of current and growing number of soon-to-be-launched streaming services (i.e. Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, etc.) in the coming year.

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Tubi says its marketing campaign comes at a time when consumers are experiencing “subscription fatigue,” contending AVOD offers premium streaming for free.

Other banners include, “Dear Netflix, I didn’t think you’d find out. I streamed Tubi last night”; “Dear Hulu, you’re cool and all, but I couldn’t take my eyes off Tubi last night”; and “Dear NYC. You free tonight? Because we are.”

Tubi features more than 15,000 library movies and television series from more than 200 content partners, including Warner Bros., NBC Universal, MGM and Lionsgate, among others.

The service in June announced that its monthly users topped 20 million in May with more than 94 million hours of content consumed.

As part of the campaign, San Francisco-based Tubi said it would take to the skies — which it apparently did in a midday flyover of Netflix’s Sunset Boulevard office in West Hollywood.

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Tubi

 

 

Tubi Surpasses 20 Million Monthly Active Users

AVOD movie and television service Tubi announced it has surpassed 20 million monthly active users.

Customers watched more than 94 million hours of content during May, Tubi’s single biggest month of revenue in the company’s history, according to the company.

Tubi’s library has more than 15,000 movies and television series, and more than 44,000 hours of content available free to consumers from more than 200 content partners including major studios such as Warner Bros., NBCUniversal, MGM, Lionsgate, and others.

“Tubi has made remarkable strides in the first half of the year, further demonstrating the vitality of AVOD in an environment fatigued by the amount of subscription video options,” said Farhad Massoudi, CEO of Tubi, in a statement. “Our recent deals this year with NBCUniversal, Lionsgate, Warner Bros., and others resonated very well with our customers, and we’re excited to provide even more premium content this year.”

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Available in the United States and Canada, Tubi can be accessed on more than 25 devices including Roku, Amazon FireTV, Comcast Xfinity, Cox Contour, iOS, Android and others, according to the company.

Tubi Expands Ad Sales Team

Ad-supported VOD service Tubi May 21  named former senior Viacom advertising executive Peter Graseck as VP of East Coast advertising sales. Graseck will lead the New York ad team and work alongside fellow VPs Heather Strofs, West Coast region, and Todd Segall, Midwest region.

The three report to chief revenue officer Mark Rotblat.

“Peter, Heather, and Todd are all talented executives with undeniable business acumen and integrity, and we look forward to leveraging their expertise during this pivotal growth period,” Rotblat said in a statement.

From Left: Peter Graseck, Heather Strofs, Todd Segall

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Graseck’s media career spans a wide variety of advertising and marketing functions; agency media planning at Young & Rubicam, marketing and branded entertainment at NBC Universal, and for the past 12 years at Viacom, he has held leadership roles in integrated marketing, client strategy, and both general market sales for Comedy Central, Spike, CMT, and TV Land, and direct response sales. Most recently, Graseck was the SVP of Viacom Partner Solutions where he oversaw all direct response accounts across Viacom’s cable networks and digital platforms.

Strofs came to Tubi with over 15 years of sales and leadership experience across the New York, Chicago, and West Coast Markets. She most recently served as VP, ad sales at The Oprah Winfrey Network where she collaborated with clients to create custom solutions that allowed advertising partners to reach their consumers in a unique and impactful way across linear, digital and social platforms. During her tenure, she brought on launch partners at OWN’s inception and continued to create innovative solutions across the studio, technology, and auto landscapes.

Segall joined Tubi from Roku where he was head of sales for their Central Region based out of Chicago and was responsible for building out their sales team and market presence. Prior to joining Roku, Segall was senior category sales director at AOL where he led the Finance Vertical as well as their mid-market sales team.