The multi-year deal comes as Nexstar, the No. 1 owner of local TV stations in the U.S., remains in a carriage dispute with Dish Network that boiled over last week. Dozens of Nexstar stations as well as WGN America are now dark across Dish and its streaming bundle, Sling TV, and the parties remain at odds.
Terms of the WGN America-Fubo deal were not disclosed.
Fubo will start carrying WGN America in January, becoming the second streaming bundle to do so after Nexstar and YouTube TV reached terms a few weeks ago. Fubo, which launched as a sports-centric offering in 2015, has since broadened out to general entertainment. In its third-quarter earnings report last month, it said it had 455,000 as of September 30, well below the 2 million to 4 million range of rivals like YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV and Sling, but up a notable 58% from the same period of 2019.
WGN America is widely penetrated, with carriage in nearly 80 million U.S. households. After Nexstar took it over as part of its $4.1 billion acquisition of Tribune Media last year, it overhauled the network’s programming. In August, it debuted NewsNation, a three-hour primetime block of news designed as a straightforward alternative to the right- and left-tilting opinion shows on CNN, Fox and MSNBC. Under Tribune, WGN America had been a contender in the crowded scripted drama space, breaking through with shows like Underground and Manhattan, though at considerable expense.
“This agreement with FuboTV is another significant step forward in the strategic expansion of WGN America,” said Sean Compton, president of the Nexstar’s networks division. “We are excited to be adding FuboTV’s customers to the reach of the network, and to be bringing NewsNation to even more viewers at a time when so many people are looking for fact-based, unbiased reporting to help them make sense of rapidly changing events across the nation.”