Tubi's New Focus: What's 'Not on Netflix'

Free, ad-supported streaming service boots up new awareness campaign amid a subscription VoD frenzy being dominated by Disney, Apple, WarnerMedia and NBCU.

Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor

November 21, 2019

3 Min Read
Tubi's New Focus: What's 'Not on Netflix'

Looking to generate some buzz of its own amid the frenzy of recently launched subscription VoD services from Disney and Apple, Tubi has kicked off an ad campaign that shines some light on its category in the so-called "streaming wars" -- free, ad-supported VoD.

And the campaign's primary theme -- TV shows and movies that are "Not On Netflix" -- also takes a less-than-subtle jab at another SVoD giant.

Figure 1: The billboard element of Tubi's ad campaign is focused on New York and Los Angeles, including airports such as JFK and LAX. Pictured is a billboard mock-up for LAX. The billboard element of Tubi's ad campaign is focused on New York and Los Angeles, including airports such as JFK and LAX. Pictured is a billboard mock-up for LAX.

"Timing-wise, it's the perfect time to be talking about free AVoD as we... are in the throes of the streaming wars," Emily Jordan, Tubi's head of marketing, said, noting that the campaign partly pokes fun at the notion of "platform polygamy," with celebs participating in the campaign admitting to finding someone new to fulfill their streaming desires.

And while Tubi, which touts a library of about 15,000 movies and TV shows, views itself as a "complement" to Netflix, Jordan said the campaign and the attempt to generate more awareness of Tubi's free OTT service are also trying to seize upon "subscription fatigue" that could set in as consumers grapple with a growing batch of general entertainment SVoD services. That group that includes Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, CBS All Access, Disney+ and Apple TV+. Meanwhile, two more -- WarnerMedia's HBO Max and NBCU's Peacock -- are set to debut in the first half of 2020.

"We really want to be the prescription for that subscription fatigue," Jordan said.

Launched Monday, Tubi's six-week campaign features some cheeky and somewhat risqué ad spots with celebs and media personalities such as Carmen Electra, Terrence Howard, Robin Thicke and Colton Underwood from The Bachelor fame, and backed by billboards in two major US markets -- Los Angeles and New York.

Tubi's video buys are focused on digital outlets such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter while eschewing buys on traditional linear TV channels.

"Our focus has really been on platforms and channels where our viewer and our target audience are, so that's what's driven our media channel selection to date," Jordan said.

She said it's too early to judge the effectiveness of the campaign. However, Tubi, which undertook a smaller marketing campaign in August, has seen a rise in usage -- from about 94 million hours of view time in June to roughly 132 million hours today. Tubi also announced in June that the service had surpassed 20 million active users, but hasn't updated that number since.

Tubi has raised about $35 million and counts MGM and Lionsgate among its backers. In January, the company said it expected to spend "9 figures" on content acquisition in 2019. And while retail streaming platforms has been Tubi's primary focus, it has extended its reach into the pay-TV world, notably an integration with Comcast's X1 platform.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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