Disney buys stake in vMVPD competitor fuboTV

FuboTV
FuboTV ended the first quarter with 287,316 paid subscribers, an increase of 37% year over year. (FuboTV)

Correction: Disney has not made a new purchase of fuboTV common stock. Disney inherited its partial ownership of the company when it acquired 21st Century Fox.

Disney already controls Hulu + Live TV, the largest U.S. virtual MVPD in terms of subscribers, but now the company has bought a substantial stake in competitor fuboTV.

FaceBank Group, which owns fuboTV, filed several disclosures Monday with the SEC, including one that revealed Disney had purchased more than 6.6 million shares of common stock. Mediagazer estimates the transaction gives Disney approximately 17% ownership of FaceBank and fuboTV.

The filings arrived shortly after fuboTV postponed its second-quarter earnings, which were originally scheduled to reported Monday. Today fuboTV registered with the SEC for a proposed follow-on public offering of its common stock.

FuboTV’s first-quarter revenues totaled $51 million, up 78% compared to the first quarter of the prior year. The company attributed the growth to a rise in subscribers, subscription Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) and advertising sales.

RELATED: FuboTV weathers COVID-19 sports shutdown with revenue growth

Despite recent growth, fuboTV has been losing money. MoffettNathanson said fuboTV generated $147 million in revenues last year but thanks to more than $200 million in subscriber-related expenses, the company posted an operating loss of $172 million.

Disney’s stake in fuboTV hits the books not long after the company reached a distribution deal with fuboTV for ABC, ABC News Live, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Freeform, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, in-market for SEC Network and ACC Network, FX, FXX, and National Geographic.

Shortly after welcoming ESPN into its sports-focused channel lineup, fuboTV raised the price of its Family bundle from $60/month to $65/month. Existing Standard plan subscribers (which currently pay $55/month) will be automatically moved over to the Family plan. They can opt out but if they do, they will begin paying $60/month for their Standard plan.

FuboTV ended the first quarter with 287,316 paid subscribers, an increase of 37% year over year. Meanwhile, Disney-controlled Hulu + Live TV ended its most recent quarter with 3.4 million subscribers.

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