Fox is reportedly in talks to buy Tubi, the free streaming service. The free content side of streaming has sparked significant interest recently with many companies looking to get involved in what is clearly a growing side of the market.
The AVOD market is booming right now. Pluto TV which offers access to live TV streaming recently confirmed 22 million monthly access users and expects to close out the year with more than 30 million. Similarly, Tubi, the very service now reportedly in talks to join the Fox family recently revealed it has more than 25 million monthly active users. An element which no doubt is further appealing to Fox.
The details on the possible Tubi purchase comes from a new Wall Street Journal report which credits “people familiar with the matter” for the information. Beyond the possibility of the acquisition, very few details were shared in the report other than the suggestion the deal “could be valued at north of $500 million.”
The latest attempt to buy-in to the AVOD market
If the deal goes ahead as suggested, this will only be the latest example of a major TV name looking to buy its way into the free side of the market. Recently, reports have suggested Comcast is in similar talks to buy Xumo – another popular free service. Both of these deals would also be coming on the back of a 2019 deal which saw Viacom acquire Pluto TV before Viacom itself merged with CBS to form ViacomCBS.
One of the likely reasons these companies (and the market in general) have started paying closer attention to the free, ad-supported side, is the level of competition now evident in the SVOD market. It is already getting to a level where consumers are starting to feel overwhelmed by the options and even more so, by the idea of having to micro-manage multiple subscriptions on a monthly basis. In contrast, the ability to access content, for free, and with no obligation, is likely to be a welcomed respite for streamers.
Another effect which now appears to be taking shape due to the saturation of the SVOD market, is the rebundling of services once again. While these bundles are more customized (and available to cancel at any time), many services are looking to integrate and combine with other services in a bid to secure more subscribers.
From the end user point of view, these new-age streaming bundles don’t particularly offer much financial incentive, but they do reduce down the number of subscriptions that need to be managed, and the number of apps that need to be accessed. Both of which appear to be appealing selling points for many consumers in 2020.