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Cable Tech

FuboTV set to bet on online wagering as subs spike to 455K

FuboTV's subscriber momentum rebounded sharply in the third quarter, thanks in part to the return of live televised sports.

FuboTV, one of a handful of virtual multichannel video programming distributors (vMVPDs), ended Q3 2020 with 455,000 subs, up from 288,000 in the year-ago quarter. Subscriber adds in the quarter easily beat initial expectations that FuboTV would end Q3 with 340,000 to 350,000 total subscribers.

FuboTV has plans to add a complementary online sports wagering service to its streaming TV platform.
FuboTV has plans to add a complementary online sports wagering service to its streaming TV platform.

Billing Q3 as the best quarterly result so far for the OTT-TV service provider, FuboTV pulled in Q3 revenues of $61.2 million, up 47% year-on-year. Its budding advertising business saw revenues climb 153% to $7.5 million.

FuboTV's monthly active users watched 121 hours per month on average in Q3, a 20% year-on-year increase, and average revenue per user climbed 14% to $67.70.

But profits are still elusive. FuboTV, which merged with FaceBank in March and closed a public offering in October, swung to a Q3 net loss of $274.1 million. The loss included non-cash goodwill and impairment charges of $236.7 million for the legacy FaceBank business.

Preparing to bet on online sports wagering

Against a backdrop of sub growth and its "sports-first" footing, FuboTV said it intends to expand into a complementary sports wagering business.

"We believe there is a flywheel opportunity with video content and interactivity," FuboTV explained in its investor letter. "As our cable TV replacement product is sports-focused, we believe a significant portion of our subscribers would be interested in online wagering, creating a unique opportunity to drive higher subscriber engagement and open up additional revenue opportunities."

FuboTV has yet to elaborate on the timing of an online sports wagering service. But it believes the new offering will lead to higher viewership and overall engagement on its platform and drive higher ad revenues while also improving subscriber retention and cutting subscriber acquisition costs.

FuboTV has also raised its Q4 revenue guidance to the range of $80 million to $85 million, and full-year 2021 revenues to $415 million to $435 million. It also expects to end the period with between 500,000 and 510,000 paid subscribers.

Pay-TV trends

FuboTV's quarterly result is another indication that the pay-TV market was able to keep subscriber damage in check in Q3.

Sling TV, the Dish-owned vMVPD, added 203,000 subs in Q3, and Philo, an entertainment focused OTT-TV provider, has reportedly crossed the 800,000 subscriber mark, up from the 750,000 disclosed in August. YouTube TV, meanwhile, has surpassed 3 million subscribers. Disney will report Hulu results this Thursday (November 12).

Among traditional pay-TV providers, Charter Communications added video subscribers for the second consecutive quarter in Q3 2020 and the rate of pay-TV subscriber losses showed signs of improvement at AT&T/DirecTV, Verizon and Dish's satellite TV unit.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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