Ad-supported streaming service Tubi said it has surpassed 20 million monthly active users after activity in May reached 94 million hours of content viewing and revenue in the month set a company record.
Tubi, which launched in 2014, is privately held and did not disclose the monthly revenue figure. At the start of 2019, the start-up announced it planned to make a nine-figure investment in content acquisitions to bolster its free streaming lineup. Confirmations of deals with NBCUniversal, Lionsgate and Warner Bros. soon followed. Including titles from those and other content parters, Tubi says it now offers more than 15,000 films and TV series.
“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,” CEO Farhad Massoudi said.
With appetites for ad-supported streaming increasing, Tubi appears likely to be able to cash in at some point. The start-up held talks with Viacom before the media company bought Pluto TV, a bundled AVOD offering, for $340 million last January. Crackle, another major AVOD name, also changed hands recently, with upstart Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment gaining control in a deal with Sony that closed in May. NBCUniversal plans a major AVOD offering in 2020, and WarnerMedia has signaled it will include an AVOD dimension in its streaming rollout next year as well.
A surge in viewing in the fourth quarter of 2018 enabled the company to start turning a profit by the end of last year, Tubi said. In addition to industry interest in AVOD, the other wind at Tubi’s back is cord-cutting, with the number of pay-TV households at decade-low levels and continuing to decline.
Tubi’s original backer was Adrise. Other investors include former Lionsgate vice chairman Mark Amin, Foundation Capital, Bobby Yazdani, former Yahoo CTO Zod Nazem, SGH Capital and Streamlined Ventures.