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FuboTV Scores Big on Content Choice, Ad Load, and Revenue

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If you've paid attention to the news, you know that fuboTV is going all in on sports wagering. But when it comes to its core ad-supported subscription service, I can't help but think that fuboTV is leaving something on the field. According to comments by co-founder and CEO David Gandler, fuboTV has seen advertisers moving budgets from linear TV to CTV, the transition of sports viewing from linear TV to CTV, and increased overall consumption on CTV. Let's take a look at how well the service actually works from a viewer perspective—fuboTV versus Ad Sense.

I was set to not like fuboTV because I'm not a sports fan. Then I sat down in the middle of the day and started watching. Maybe it's because I can legitimately watch TV at noon and call it work, but it was good. Scary good, in fact, because I had choices; for example, I could channel surf like I used to do with cable. The only downside is that I couldn't watch on my computer monitor plugged into my laptop, because the service doesn't support any external monitors. fuboTV 1, Ad Sense 0

I thought there might be advertising overload. Ad loads can become overwhelming when you combine what already is on the broadcasts with the added avails fuboTV includes. fuboTV's approach sounds familiar: “We don't have ad insertion on national broadcast … but we do have ad insertion on all of their cable extensions,” says Diana Horowitz, SVP of advertising sales. fuboTV sells 2–3 minutes of ads per hour, and the ad load seemed fine on what I watched. fuboTV 2, Ad Sense 0

Not that I usually worry about how companies stay in business, but I did wonder how those 2–3 minutes per hour were enough to keep fuboTV afloat. fuboTV has an audience that is in high demand by advertisers. In Q2 2021, fuboTV viewers watched 134 hours per month, averaged 42.8 years old, had a household income of around $85,000, and skewed predominantly male. More than 90% of viewing is on CTV, and it's almost all live, says Horowitz. So fuboTV is probably not leaving much money on the table. fuboTV 3, Ad Sense 0

Interactivity is one of the latest trends in streaming, so I wondered how far outside the box fuboTV might go. Viewers can watch four games or simultaneous streams at once across fuboTV using the multiview feature on Apple TV, which is impressive. fuboTV is also integrating quizzes in its new free-to-play trivia games and FanView live stats feature. [Editor's note: FanView and free-to-play games weren't available when this column was written in late 2021, but are now available and sponsorable.] Gamification is great for both consumers (because it increases involvement) and advertisers (because it generates more data). fuboTV could do more on the interactivity front, but it is making a solid start, and in the fourth quarter of 2021 it launched Fubo Sportsbook, which brings wagering and viewing together in one ecosystem. Tie

What about new ad formats? fuboTV's branded content studio helps generate creative, but what other things can it do? How about experimenting with a few new ad formats? I didn't see much evidence of that when I watched, aside from the fubo Sports Network logo appearing on occasion. It seems like an opportunity is being wasted here. fuboTV 3, Ad Sense 1

So fuboTV comes out ahead. It is doing a very good job of monetizing, but it could get a bit more creative on its creatives. Much of the time, ads come from agencies, but now that fuboTV has a branded content studio, the company should be able to couple this with newer, more innovative ad tech formats—like picture-in-picture, lower-third branding, and programmatic advertising—and it will really wow those customers who are paying at least $65 a month for the service. After all, if viewers are going to pay money to watch ads, those ads had better be worth it.

[Editor's note: This article first appeared in the Nov/Dec 2021 issue of Streaming Media magazine under the title "FuboTV Scores." It has been updated to reflect improvements to fuboTV's offering.]

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