Both NBCUniversal and Fox are reportedly circling possible acquisition deals for free, ad-supported streaming video companies.
According to Variety, NBCU is in talks to buy Vudu, a transactional video and free streaming service owned by Walmart. The publication said that NBCU may merge Vudu with FandangoNow, its own digital video platform.
The potential deal for Vudu comes after NBCU in December was tied to rumors about a Xumo acquisition. Xumo runs an ad-supported streaming service similar to apps like Pluto TV, Tubi and the Roku Channel. The company also builds branded AVOD apps for companies including LG and T-Mobile. Xumo operates a platform called Elixir, which automates the process for running ad-supported streaming channels and adjusting programming and advertising in real-time.
All of this is happening as NBCU gets ready to launch Peacock, its new ad-supported streaming service, later this year. Peacock will have a free tier available to everyone along with Peacock Premium for $4.99 per month (or $9.99 per month with no ads). Peacock Premium will also be bundled free for almost all Comcast Xfinity TV and Flex broadband customers, and Cox video subscribers.
While NBCU is reportedly looking at Xumo and Vudu, Fox may be in the early stages of buying Tubi. According to the Wall Street Journal, the companies discussed a deal that could be valued at more than $500 million.
That would exceed the $340 million price that Viacom (which has since merged with CBS to become ViacomCBS) paid for Pluto TV in 2019.
A Tubi acquisition would clarify the streaming strategy for Fox, which has been relatively quiet in the space compared to peers like Disney, WarnerMedia, NBCU and ViacomCBS.