Since its debut in 2015, fuboTV has seen TV audiences steadily drop cable and move to live TV streaming services. Consumers have embraced streaming over traditional pay television for a variety of reasons, including a more personalized, premium viewing experience that is also less expensive.
While one of the major sticking points preventing consumers from cutting the cord is the fear of missing live sports, that’s not the case with fuboTV. The sports-first live TV streaming platform offers more top Nielsen-ranked sports, news, and entertainment networks in its base package than any similar service (43 of 50 networks; Nielsen A18-49 Primetime), so there’s something for everyone in the family to enjoy. And, for the sports fan, fuboTV’s leading sports coverage makes it a great choice for live NFL, NHL, MLB, and NBA games.
Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, fuboTV’s viewership remains strong. The platform recently announced total content hours streamed by fuboTV users during the third quarter increased 83% year-over-year to 133.3 million hours while its monthly active users (MAUs) watched 121 hours per month on average in the quarter, an increase of 20% year-over-year. And what’s the device of choice for fuboTV viewers? Of total viewing hours on fuboTV during the third quarter, 93% were on connected TV (CTV) screens.
Advertisers have recognized the surge in CTV viewership, and fuboTV is seeing ad spend continue to rise as brands adapt to new consumer behaviors. In Q3, fuboTV’s ad revenue rose to 153% over the same period in 2019.
Diana Horowitz, SVP of Ad Sales at fuboTV, shares more about the streaming platform’s growing audience and the opportunity CTV offers advertisers.
Catherine Ollinger: Viewers have been cutting the cord in favor of streaming for years, but streaming growth, particularly CTV, has skyrocketed in 2020. How has this played out for fuboTV?
Diana Horowitz: One of the most consistent messages coming out of viewer behavior this year is that consumers want a live, big-screen viewing experience when streaming their favorite content. CTV is incredibly popular with our subscribers. fuboTV’s premium content offering is sports-first, which really lends itself to CTV viewing. There’s no better way to watch Monday Night Football, is there?
CO: fuboTV airs more than 50,000 sporting events and is among the few vMVPDs offering the NFL Network, NFL Network’s RedZone, and ESPN. How has the pandemic affected viewership among sports fans?
DH: I think everyone has learned a lot during 2020, fuboTV included! For us, the pandemic actually proved the strength of our business model. Our content is sports-first but, as everyone knows, during the early months of the pandemic, live sports just stopped. But we saw something very interesting. Engagement on our platform actually increased as viewership shifted from sports to our growing news and entertainment portfolio. During the height of the pandemic, viewing hours on fuboTV peaked at 8.5 hours per day while consumers were sheltering at home.
Live sports have now returned but fans are only allowed back into sporting venues in very small numbers, if at all. So, our live sports streaming package ensures they don’t miss a minute of the action. At the same time, we’re still seeing strong viewership across entertainment and news. During the third quarter of 2020, 91% of our subscribers watched sports content, 88% viewed entertainment programming, and 81% streamed news — and 71% watched all three. That’s why we really position fuboTV as a complete cable TV replacement that everyone in the family can enjoy. It’s also why we say our consumers “come for the sports and stay for the entertainment.”
CO: How are you seeing brands and advertisers respond to evolving viewer behavior?
DH: Advertisers always follow the audience and that’s no different with fuboTV. We continue to see advertisers across all categories recognize the value of our CTV platform and our premium content. Advertisers are also attracted to our platform because 90% of viewership on fuboTV is live vs. on demand, though we have that too. Advertisers come to us for that immediate connection they can create with our audience who are engaging with the most popular sports, news, and entertainment programming.
As we enter into the holiday season, we are seeing advertisers targeting not only our vast array of Q4 sporting events, but also all the family-friendly holiday content that we also see surging in terms of viewership across our platform.
CO: What is the key value proposition of CTV advertising for brands, marketers, and viewers?
DH: What’s exciting about the broad adoption of CTV is that it enables advertisers to reach highly engaged viewers, consuming premium content and advertising on a big screen in a live, immersive TV environment, while providing all of the contextual and addressable targeting capabilities we have available as a CTV platform.
CO: How has partnering with SpotX helped scale your ad business?
DH: SpotX has been an exceptional partner in scaling fuboTV’s ad business. As one of our preferred partners, the SpotX platform has enabled us to seamlessly execute on our strategy to enable buyers access to our premium video inventory in the manner that best suits their needs. As the buy-side strategy continues to shift more programmatic, SpotX provides the critical connection of fuboTV inventory to the demand-side platforms (DSPs). Additionally, we work closely with the Demand Facilitation Team, which complements our own Sales Team’s efforts, by consistently delivering unique opportunities to monetize.
CO: What’s coming next? What are you excited for in 2021?
DH: Looking at the industry overall, I’m incredibly excited about the continued growth and adoption of CTV by viewers and advertisers – which we will continue to support via our partnerships across the industry. We are also excited about the continued evolution of programmatic as a premium advertising opportunity for the CTV space.
From a company perspective, we recently listed on the New York Stock Exchange and completed the most successful quarter in our history. We also announced our entry into online sports wagering as we look to combine our live streaming video with interactivity. We believe consumers and advertisers are ready for the next phase of live TV streaming. These are exciting times for fuboTV!
As Senior Manager, Platform Services at SpotX, Catherine Ollinger manages several key platform relationships on the East Coast. While she works with a range of customers, Catherine has a particular focus on consulting and growing SpotX partnerships with media owners, broadcasters, and vMVPDs. Catherine began her career in advertising over seven years ago at CBS Network Television where she learned the ins and outs of linear advertising. Catherine then shifted her focus to digital video advertising and has been at SpotX for more than five years.