FuboTV weathers COVID-19 sports shutdown with revenue growth

FuboTV CEO David Gandler acknowledged the impact that the ongoing professional sports shutdowns have had on his company. (FuboTV)

Virtual MVPD fuboTV released its first-quarter results, which showed that despite the coronavirus-related sports shutdown, the service still managed to grow its revenue and engagement.

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. Subscription revenue increased 74% year over year to $46.4 million and advertising revenue increased 120% year over year to $4.1 million. ARPU per month was $54.16, an increase of 25% year over year.

FuboTV ended the first quarter with 287,316 paid subscribers, an increase of 37% year over year. The total, however, was significantly fewer than the 315,789 paid subscribers the company counted at the end of 2019. While fuboTV is still much smaller than many of its main competitors in terms of subscribers, the company seems to be steadily growing. The service’s latest subscriber total is more than double what it had at the end of the first quarter in 2018.

RELATED: FuboTV had 315K paid subscribers at the end of 2019

The company said that total streaming hours by fuboTV users (paid and free trial) in the first quarter increased 120% year over year to 107.2 million hours and that monthly active users watched 120 hours per month on average in the quarter, up 52% year over year.

FuboTV CEO David Gandler acknowledged the impact that the ongoing professional sports shutdowns have had on his company.

“While we expect that the COVID-19 pandemic will have lasting effects on consumer behavior and live television viewing, vMVPDs are also a more affordable alternative to pay TV, which, we believe, in this current economic climate, further accelerates adoption,” he wrote in a letter to shareholders.

The overall affordability of vMVPDs lost some of its luster last week when fuboTV and YouTube TV both instituted price increases amid swelling programming expenses. FuboTV is increasing 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.

The latest price increase for fuboTV comes after the company in late March 2019 raised the price of its base packages by $10 to $54.99 per month for new subscribers.