Fox Corp.’s Tubi had 3.6 billion hours streamed in 2021, a 40% increase over 2020, as overall viewing migrates from subscription to free and ad-supported services.
That’s one of the main findings in an annual report released by Tubi and highlighted by Fox executives during the company’s fiscal second-quarter earnings call. Fox reported a 9% uptick in revenue during the quarter, to $4.4 billion.
Growth in the company’s library, now at 41,000 film and TV titles, helped propel view time, CEO Lachlan Murdoch said. “While some companies are focused on multi-billion-dollar content investments in search of subscription streaming growth, Tubi continues its unrelenting focus on advertising video-on-demand with a strategic, measured investment approach,” Murdoch said during a conference call with Wall Street analysts.
According to the Tubi report, which relied on data from research firm MarketCast, SVOD audiences grew by 8% in 2021, while AVOD increased by 16%. Ad revenue tells an even more slanted tale, with connected TV and OTT revenue climbing 34% last year, compared with a 7% gain for national broadcast and cable.
Beyond the continued expansion of Tubi, which Fox bought for $440 million in 2020, the category has seen considerable investment of late. In the past two years, NBCUniversal has rolled out Peacock, Discovery launched Discovery+ and ViacomCBS rebranded and expanded Paramount+. Along with more established AVOD players, from Roku to Pluto to Crackle, AVOD viewership overall will surpass SVOD in 2022, the Tubi report predicts.
While the rising tide of ad-supported streaming is lifting Tubi, the report notes it has unique reach. About 71% of the service’s viewers are not paying for cable TV and 56% of them do not watch linear TV.
Interestingly, 78% of Tubi viewers don’t watch Peacock, per the report, and 62% are not on Hulu. Yet the audience is not unwilling to spend for programming, with 71% of Tubi viewers also subscribing to Netflix.
Because of the structure of Fox Corp., which became a leaner, TV-focused entity after the $71.3 billion Disney deal for 20th Century Fox assets in 2019, Tubi revenue is “truly incremental to us,” Murdoch noted. “There are no competing priorities” inside the company, unlike at some media rivals, and no licensing structure where one side of the company is paying the other for programming. That dynamic disappeared when Fox’s studio operations went to Disney.