Fox turned away big deals for Tubi streaming service – report

It's another indication that the free ad-supported TV (FAST) sector remains hot as ever that Fox Corp. turned down unsolicited offers of more than $2 billion for Tubi, Bloomberg reported.

Bloomberg didn't say who made the overtures, but the totals being bounced around are well north of the $440 million Fox paid to acquire Tubi in 2020.

(Source: Tubi)
(Source: Tubi)

Fox chief Lachlan Murdoch wants to retain fast-growing Tubi, Bloomberg said, citing unnamed people familiar with the recent offers for the free streaming service. Tubi told investors recently that sales surged 25% last quarter, to more than $200 million, according to Bloomberg. However, the service still lost $50 million in the period due in part to investments in original content, the report added.

But Tubi, a service founded in 2011, isn't skimping on marketing to drive more awareness of the service. Tubi ran ads during Sunday's Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles and got some buzz for a 15-second prank ad that caused some viewers to wonder if they were sitting on their remote controls.

Meanwhile, Tubi's content slate is getting a boost following a new deal with Warner Bros. Discovery that features more than 2,000 hours of content, including 14 Warner Bros.-branded FAST channels and more than 225 ad-supported VoD titles.

FAST deals involving major programmers like these are coming together amid the ongoing decline of traditional pay-TV. As the pay-TV model, which relies on a mix of subscriptions and advertising, continues to break down, FAST channels and aggregated FAST services have been filling the void.

A new round of consolidation?

Big overtures for Tubi could indicate that the FAST sector is poised for a new round of wheeling and dealing and consolidation. The current form of the market is largely led by a wave of M&A – Viacom (now part of Paramount Global) acquired Pluto TV in 2019 for $340 million, and Comcast bought Xumo in 2020. Xumo is now the brand name of the new Comcast-Charter Communications national streaming joint venture. Xumo Play, also part of the JV, is now the new brand for the FAST offering.

Examples of others in the FAST game include Roku (The Roku Channel), Amazon (with its recently rebranded Freevee service), Xperi (with TiVo+) and Sling TV, which last week launched Sling Freestream, a service that debuted with more than 210 streaming "channels" and more than 41,000 on-demand titles.

One service that went the other way is NBCU's Peacock, which recently stopped offering its free, ad-based tier to new sign-ups. However, NBCU does supply content to the Xumo Play service.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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