After securing $15 million in Series B funding from Sky and 21st Century Fox, Fubo is ready to take on the next phase of growth as a sports-focused virtual MVPD.
But Fubo is not your typical OTT video player. As a video provider that leads initially with sports programming, Fubo says it can lure a different audience who has more specific tastes.
David Gandler, co-Founder and CEO of fuboTV, told FierceOnlineVideo that the next stage of its development will be focused on growing its subscriber base.
“I would compare year two of Fubo as Netflix in its second year of existence when it decided to switch to streaming and then from streaming to original programming,” Gandler said. “We’re in that similar situation where we have built out a service, it’s growing nicely, we’re well known to a specific type of sports fan, and have an opportunity to expand that service for the U.S.”
While other OTT video players tend to offer sports programming as an add-on Gandler said that they take a contrarian approach by attracting people that are passionate about sports.
“We coined the phrase sports first virtual MVPD and that phrase is that we are targeting a basic package that’s heavily skewed towards sports unlike all of other competitors,” Gandler said. “I think that’s where we differ from Hulu, DirecTV and Play Station.”
Focus on millennials, right-sized bundles
Fubo is not your typical MVPD and neither is its customer base. By focusing on offering a skinny bundle focused mainly on sports, Fubo isn't worried about offering a general programming package to scale to millions of subscribers.
In combination with its sports first focus, Fubo’s customer base is strongly concentrated in millennial males who are not traditional MVPD customers, and is 30 percent Latin American.
Most of Fubo’s customers will watch their programs not on the traditional TV sets, but on tablets and smart phones.
Gandler admits that while Fubo won’t have every channel, having a specialized set of sports programming enables the company to differentiate itself in the crowded OTT video space.
“If you read about Hulu and people say they don’t have NBC so everyone is talking about something they don’t have,” Gandler said. “At the end of the day after all those discussions everyone has the same cable bundle except it’s delivered over the top.”
Gandler said that this segment is very cost conscious and are willing to pay a lower price to get content important to them.
“We won’t be as robust in terms of numbers of channels, but our bet is price matters to some degree and because of that people are ready to pay less to get less content,” Gandler said. “I look at this like credit cards where you have an American Express green card, American Express gold card and an American Express platinum card and cable is like the Platinum card.”
Bulking up content, enhancing QoS
Fubo has set some ambitious goals to expand its business by adding more new content to its growing lineup.
By the end of 2017, Fubo plans to have a minimum of 95% of the local broadcast stations and penetration across 95% of the regional sports networks (RSNs).
It appears that Fubo is well on its way to achieving this goal. In December, Fubo signed affiliate agreements with Fox Networks Group, NBCU, A+E Networks, Crown Media Family Networks, Fuse Media, NBA TV and The Weather Channel, more than doubling its national channel lineup.
Each of these agreements came with 32 original sports networks. When Fubo announces its basic package, subscribers will be able to get access to a minimum of 12 sports networks.
“With Fox and NBC--outside of the sports programming—that helps round out the bundle,” Gandler said. “In order to stay true to our sports first MVPD business focus, those two companies provide us 80-85% coverage on the RSN side.”
As it scales its channel lineup, Fubo will work to enhance service quality. The provider will also work with its network partners to make sure that the affiliate station groups are up and running after its launch.
“Speed to market is equally important to us as quality,” Gandler said. “We’ve done well with our current strategy so that’s one piece we’ll be focused on.”
Part of that quality focus will be on reducing network latency to ensure customers get a consistent experience.
“We’re going to be very focused on transmission and latency,” Gandler said. “That’s a core piece to sports viewing because you don’t want to see buffering in the middle of a pitch, a goal or a penalty shot so that’s something that will be business critical to us over the next 6-8 months.”