The numbers show that cord cutting is no longer just a trend but a reality that has given rise to streaming services from Sling TV, Hulu, YouTube, and Sony. All of these services have their pros and cons, but what it largely boils down to is this: the more money a consumer is willing to spend, the more channels they will get.
That may sound a lot like the same issue that consumers have always faced with cable companies, but these services still tend to be much cheaper than standard bundles. What the above companies have in common, though, is that they are fighting for the same audiences. FuboTV, on the other hand, first saw the opportunity to enter this exceedingly competitive market by appealing to soccer fans, and then more broadly, sports fans, and has succeeded as a result.
Diehard sports fans want to watch live sports, and are oftentimes not interested in many other channels, me included. This has drawn fans to the service, and as a result, FuboTV recently raised $55 million. The service offers Fox Sports, NBA TV, NBC Sportsnet, beIN Sports, Fox Soccer Plus, and local Fox and NBC channels in certain markets. While sports is still the service’s focus, FuboTV Premier also offers channels like Bravo, FX, CNBC, USA, History, and others. The service also recently announced the addition of Scripps Networks channels like HGTV and Travel Channel.
For more on FuboTV’s rise, we spoke with David Gandler, co-founder and CEO, FuboTV:
Found Remote: FuboTV has evolved plenty in the past few years – from catering to soccer viewers to sports viewers and now to a wider audience. Why is FuboTV expanding beyond its sports roots?
David Gandler: While we have indeed evolved from our soccer roots, FuboTV is a sports-first live streaming TV service or virtual MVPD. Of the 60-plus channels that are in our entry-level skinny bundle, more than half of them that air sports programming. This is by design, as we look to create a service for sports fans. Of course while there is a lot of sports on TV, we recognize that fans don’t watch only sports 24/7, and that they value premium entertainment content and and news programming that complements our core sports lineup.
FR: With these changes, how does FuboTV stand out from Sling TV, YouTube TV, Hulu, and others?
Gandler: Our Fubo Premier bundle has more channels with sports programming than any similar basic package offered by the others in this space. And we have been able to put this bundle together – including seven of the top eight English- and Spanish-language broadcast networks (once CBS launches this month), 80 percent of the country’s RSNs, and several sports networks that are either not carried by others or only available in their add-on tiers – while keeping our price point very competitive.
Additionally, we have built our own tech infrastructure that I am confident will lead the industry within the year. This includes faster load times and lower latency than our competitors – very important for the sports viewer who doesn’t want to miss that big goal or game winning touchdown, shot or home run – and best in class automation.
FR: FuboTV has big backers in Sky, Scripps, and 21st Century Fox. How do they help as partners outside of just financial support?
Gandler: Our relationships with our investors are strategic and collaborative, going well beyond financial support. This includes providing priceless counsel ranging from product and engineering to content licensing, marketing, talent acquisition and overall business strategy.
FR: With so many sports broadcasters and publishers struggling, why is live sports still a good business to be in?
Gandler: Some sports media companies are struggling and the landscape is changing, which means that there is plenty of room for disruption in the space. There are legacy businesses that don’t have a full grasp on new viewing behavior, but there are others who recognize the opportunities these changes bring and the value of building more direct relationship with their audience. We feel we have found a sweet spot that is most in line with the future of this business and we think live sports is exactly the right business to be in.
FR: In the near term, where will you look to direct the $55 million you recently raised?
Gandler: We continue to invest in resources that will help us improve our product across all platforms and devices – from the back end to the user experience – as well as add content. And while we hit pause on subscriber acquisition while we were laser focused on closing this round and finalizing the recently announced programming deals with CBS, Scripps and others, we are about to kick off our biggest consumer marketing push to date.