Streaming Service fuboTV Q1 Revenue Jumps 78%

Streaming service fuboTV posted revenue for the first quarter of $51 million, a 78% increase compared with the first quarter of the prior year, driven by growth in subscribers, subscription average revenue per user and advertising sales, according to unaudited results from owner FaceBank.

Facebank completed its merger with fubuTV April 1.

Subscription revenue in the first quarter ended March 31 increased 74% year over year to $46.4 million. Advertising revenue in the first quarter increased 120% year over year to $4.1 million. Total streaming hours by fuboTV users (paid and free trial) in the first quarter increased 120% year over year to 107.2 million hours.

Monthly active users watched 120 hours per month on average in the quarter, an increase of 52% year over year.

Paid subscribers at quarter’s end totaled 287,316, an increase of 37% year over year. Average revenue per user per month was $54.16, an increase of 25% year over year.

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“We believe fuboTV is at the forefront of the streaming revolution and has a significant advantage not only over peers in the vMVPD space but also over traditional cable television,” wrote fuboTV CEO David Gandler in a letter to shareholders. “We offer cord-cutters a total cable TV replacement with top Nielsen-ranked sports, news and entertainment channels. What sets fuboTV apart is our internally built tech stack that keeps us innovating ahead of the industry. With premium features like 4K streaming, personalized live TV recommendations and recent app updates that integrate live video into the product experience, we believe a fuboTV subscription offers consumers the best value of any other live TV streaming platform. We believe consumers will continue to choose streaming over traditional pay television because of this more personalized, premium viewing experience that is also less expensive.”

The company has added $46 million in equity funding from institutional and private investors since closing the merger, including $20 million on July 2 from Credit Suisse Capital through a common stock issuance at $9.25 per share.

Report: 60% of MVPD On-Demand Viewers Report Increase in Use During Pandemic

Six in 10 U.S adult broadband users who use pay-TV on-demand services have increased viewing as a result of COVID-19 stay-at-home directives, with 19% reporting a significant increase, according to new research from The Diffusion Group (TDG).

“Much has been written about recent spikes in the use of on-demand streaming video services such as Netflix and Disney+, and for good reason,” noted Michael Greeson, TDG president and principal analyst, in a statement. “Our findings clearly demonstrate that, being largely confined to their homes, consumers see tremendous value in having access to on-demand shows and movies. And this holds true for all such services, including those offered by pay-TV providers.”

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According to TDG, 77% of adult broadband users that subscribe to a pay-TV service watch shows and movies via the service’s on-demand feature; of those, 60% report spending more time watching on-demand programming as a consequence of having to stay at home due to local, state or national directives related to COVID-19.

TDG also found that:

  • On-demand viewers under the age of 45 were almost twice as likely as those 45 and older to have significantly increased on-demand use (23% vs. 13%, respectively);
  • 21% of those using virtual pay-TV on-demand report significant increases in viewing, a bit higher than their cable and fiber pay-TV counterparts at 19%. Satellite on-demand viewers lag in this respect, with only 13% reporting significant increases;
  • 23% of pay-TV on-demand users in the Western U.S. report a significant increase in use, compared with 19% of those in the Northeast, 18% of those in the South, and 16% of those in the Midwest; and
  • Female pay-TV on-demand viewers were as likely as their male counterparts to have significantly increased on-demand viewing under stay-at-home directives.

 

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In late April 2020, TDG surveyed 1,997 U.S. adults with a broadband data service in the home about their TV and video behaviors. The resulting Quantum Media Behaviors study provides a timely analysis of the pandemic’s impact on media usage, particularly among legacy and virtual pay-TV users, and their counterparts (i.e., Cord Cutters and Nevers). For more information about TDG research, contact info@tdgresearch.com.

Kagan Research Finds Legacy Video Sub Losses Accelerated in Q4 2018

Traditional multichannel video subscription losses swelled in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to research from Kagan, a group within S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Kagan’s fourth-quarter 2018 U.S. Multichannel Subscription Report tallied legacy video subs under 90 million. Combined, the cable, direct broadcast satellite (DBS) and telecom multichannel sectors lost nearly 1.1 million subscriptions in the fourth quarter, which pushed the full-year decline to 4 million, according to the report. DBS services accounted for more than half of the annual loss.

Virtual platforms partially offset the traditional multichannel declines, keeping those customers in a subscription package of live linear channels, but gains to services such as Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV were not enough to prevent the space from shrinking, according to the report. Traditional and virtual multichannel subscriptions combined fell nearly 1.3 million for the year.

Additional findings in the report were: 

  • The residential penetration rate for virtual and traditional multichannel services ticked down to 75% in the fourth quarter of 2018.
  • Multiple-system operators (MSOs) wrapped up 2018 with another round of quarterly losses, bringing the platform’s annual decline to nearly 1.3 million, versus a drop of 997,000 in 2017.
  • Telco video services cut combined annual subscriber losses for a second consecutive year, losing 351,000 subs to end 2018 at 10.3 million.
  • DirecTV and Dish each lost more than 1 million subs in 2018.

Research: U.S. Broadband-Only Households to Grow to 40.8 Million by 2023

Broadband-only U.S. households are set to grow from 23.3 million in 2018 to 40.8 million by 2023, according to estimates from Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence.

“The steep upward trend of due to ‘cord-cutting’ is not surprising given the abundance of online video services on the market, although this could be a circular argument, with more companies jumping on the streaming video bandwagon in response to the growing broadband-only market,” said Tony Lenoir, senior Kagan research analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence, in a statement.

Kagan expects the segment of broadband homes without a traditional multichannel subscription to account for nearly one-third of U.S. households in the next five years.

Kagan findings show that over-the-top (OTT) products, whether subscription video on demand, direct-to-consumer or virtual multichannel, are offered at competitive prices which is a major factor fueling cord-cutting. Other reasons for the strong projection of broadband-only growth include the ease of joining and cancelling online streaming services, Kagan found. They typically do not require contracts.

“The value proposition of streaming video services touches a chord with the average consumer,” Lenoir said in a statement. “The vast majority of streaming services offer free trial periods, effectively allowing consumers to shop around while bypassing hardware hassles associated with legacy video distribution. This coupled with the fact that streaming services are typically screen-agnostic and seamlessly portable, offer individual, customized consumption for customers.”

Additional findings include:

  • Kagan expects broadband-only homes, or households without a traditional multichannel video package, but a subscription to wireline broadband, to rise at an 11.9% compound annual growth rate from 2018 to 2023.
  • Broadband-only homes are set to account for 41.7% of wireline broadband households by 2023. Kagan expects cable and telco broadband to serve nearly 75% of U.S. households by that time.

Sling TV Launches on Oculus Go

Sling TV Dec. 17 became the first virtual multichannel video programming distributor (vMVPD) to launch on the wireless virtual reality headset Oculus Go.

The Sling TV experience on Oculus Go is equivalent to watching on a 180-inch television, according to a SlingTV press release.

For a limited time, customers who purchase and activate a new Oculus Go will receive an $80 credit toward Sling TV subscription services (for more info, visit sling.com/oculus).

“No big screen, no room, no problem,” said Jimshade Chaudhari, VP, product management, Sling TV. “Sling TV on Oculus Go gives customers an incredibly large screen, high-resolution experience anywhere they get a WiFi connection, without the need to connect to a phone or PC. Oculus Go is a real game-changer in giving people a personal home theater experience wherever they are, with its crystal-clear optics and portable design.”

Oculus Go users can access Sling TV in the Oculus app store.

Sling TV subscriptions start at $25 per month.

Oculus Go joins more than 17 platforms supported by Sling, including smart televisions, tablets, game consoles, computers, smartphones and streaming devices.

Oculus Go features a fast-switch LCD display that renders at a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 and the headphone-free, built-in speakers deliver a 3-D, spatial audio experience, according to the release.

Digital Hollywood Panelists Ponder Future of Skinny Bundles, Digital Delivery

Skinny bundles and virtual MVPDs are an imperfect solution to the desire of consumers to get the content they want at the price they want, while an a la carte online delivery system that perfectly satisfies consumers’ desires has yet to be fully realized.

That was the consensus of panelists at the “Internet TV Packages” panel at the Digital Hollywood conference Oct. 18 in Los Angeles.

“The consumer cares about two things, value and choice,” noted panelist Thomas K. Arnold, publisher of Media Play News. While choice has expanded over the years from only a few networks to an array of cable channels to videocassettes and discs and digital delivery, finding content is getting more complicated.

“The important thing here is curation. The old manual curation by networks is going away,” said panelist and consultant Robin Wilson, director, RW TV. He said the future is one in which consumers can “self-curate” content or in which curation is automated.

While some pundits say only younger consumers are peeling away from traditional viewing, even Baby Boomers, still working and facing a time crunch, are also moving away from appointment TV, said panelist Josette Bonte, managing director, Digital Content Strategies.

“There is definitely a problem to be solved by the industry,” she said. “I would like to have my own skinny bundle.”

“Current skinny bundles are just a patch up job,” Wilson added.

“It’s the same problem that’s always been the problem,” Arnold noted. “These internet services, they’re great for service, but bad for discovery.”

Consumers who are watching subscription services have a hard time breaking out of that silo, Arnold said.

“Your likely going to stay on Netflix or Amazon after watching a show,” he said.

To truly curate your own content can be difficult, he said, noting that his family had to “piece together our own skinny bundle” from offerings on Netflix, Amazon and Hulu to watch an entire series of a show they loved.

He predicted that consumers in the future would be paying more for entertainment but in smaller increments, comparing it to gym memberships that have retained consumers by offering ultra-low prices.

“At $10 a month, people are going to get them all [even niche OTT subscription offerings],” he said. “At $10 a month you’re not going to really notice it.”

Bonte said niche SVOD services “definitely have the chance to complement the bundles.”

Technology — perhaps from Google, Amazon or Roku — will overcome the difficulties of getting to different apps and online services to get content, panelists said.

“The idea of switching from HDMI 1 to HDMI 2 will be as archaic as rewinding the videocassette,” Arnold said.

Device integration with artificial intelligence will also assist in content discovery, Bonte said.

Panelists also pondered the growing competition in the SVOD market led by Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, soon to be joined by Disney and WarnerMedia — and the data from SVOD services that is informing what content consumers are fed.

Netflix is “definitely good at use of data” to determine content, Bonte noted. It’s an advantage for the company, Wilson added.

Netflix knows a lot about what consumers are watching, but “they won’t tell us,” Arnold said, adding that research company Parrot Analytics is using social media and other measurements to try to estimate the popularity of SVOD original programs.

One audience member noted that Netflix’s recommendation engine is less than perfect, causing her frustration as it served up the same type of content over and over.

Data targeting with ads, too, needs improving, Wilson noted. The ads served up should be more efficient, “not bombarding” the consumer.

One audience member noted that Rotten Tomatoes, which calculates content ratings based on human reviewers, is one of the most popular content recommendation sites online.

Newfangled content delivery technologies have a way to go, Arnold noted. “People who talk about artificial intelligence forget that first word, artificial,” he said.

Speaking at Digital Hollywood on Oct. 18 were, from left, moderator Patrick Redmond; Media Play News publisher and editorial director Thomas K. Arnold; and consultants Josette Bonte and Robin Wilson.