Fubo launches ‘Fubo Radio,’ AI-powered FAST music audio channels

Fubo is bringing AI-powered streaming music audio-only channels to its virtual MVPD service with the help of partner Super Hi-Fi.

Fubo on Tuesday announced the launch of 10 fully branded free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) channel radio stations, collectively dubbed “Fubo Radio,” on its sports-centric live TV streaming platform in the U.S.

Fubo pegged the additions as “the first radio experience created from the ground-up for an OTT service, with a TV-first interface and incredible music programming designed specifically for Fubo’s audience.”

The 10 custom radio stations designed exclusively for Fubo cover the following genres: Hits Radio, Hip-Hop One, Top Country, Classic Rock, 90s Alternative, Exitos Latinos, The Holidays, Coffee Time, The 80s and Dinner Party.

Fubo has staked its ground in streaming with a strong emphasis on its sports programming offering but has worked to round out the TV package with entertainment content as well. In speaking to the move for audio streaming, Fubo co-founder and CEO David Gandler in a statement called out the company’s tag line, saying “Fubo customers ‘Come for the Sports and Stay for the Entertainment,’ which is why bolstering our sports-first content offering with entertainment is always a priority.”

“The addition of FAST channel radio stations, Fubo Radio, to our programming lineup diversifies our entertainment choices and redefines what it means to be a cable TV replacement for the entire family,” Gandler continued.

The company also said the time is right to bring music audio to its streaming service as data from Hub Research in August found consumers are increasingly using their smart TV sets for activities other than viewing content. And among other uses they’re queuing up, streaming from a music or audio service topped the list, with nearly half (49%) of respondents indicating use of their smart TV for that feature. It marks an increase from the 27% of users who said they streamed music or audio from their smart TV in 2020.

Hub Entertainment Research graph 2


“Fubo Radio is designed to support and benefit from these usage behaviors while providing a compelling consumer listening experience to complement existing TV viewing habits and the popularity of FAST channels,” Fubo stated in its press release, which also cited Edison Research as showing audio-only listening on TV has grown 30% in the past year.

Partner Super Hi-Fi is delivering the streaming music channels and production for Fubo, and its AI-powered SaaS platform has powered radio experiences for brands including Sonos Radio, iHeartRadio, Peloton and others. In a statement Super Hi-Fi CEO Zack Zalon pointed to the changing behaviors for music consumption.

“The soundbar is quickly becoming the new home stereo and now, with Fubo Radio, subscribers can enjoy the service in a fresh new way that brings great music into the home,” said Zalon in a statement. “These high-impact radio stations will help bring meaningful value to Fubo subscribers. We are incredibly proud to support Fubo in bringing this first-of-its-kind service to the market.”

As content, and particularly sports, has become fragmented across different platforms and distributors, senior Fubo officials have recently pegged the vMVPD’s value proposition as transitioning from lower price towards ease of use.

Further addressing that point, on Fubo’s Q3 earnings call in November, Gandler noted intentions to deliver a more personalized experience for users as it zeros in on creating “must-have” features to ultimately create a single customized place where viewers can access a variety of content and functionality, potentially delivered through different packages or price points.  And now it’s added audio-only music streaming as it looks be a full cable replacement TV service. The new streaming audio FAST channels are included as part of Fubo’s base channel plan, Fubo Pro, which starts around $75 per month for more than 150 live TV channels.   

“Fubo’s goal is to be a super aggregator, and we are well on our way,” Gandler said on the earnings call earlier this month, noting its lineup of sports, news and entertainment delivered through one app experience.

Fubo, which competes with the likes of YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV and others, marked a strong period for subscribers, adding around 310,000 in Q3 for a total base of around 1.47 million.

Fubo’s not the only streaming service bringing free audio content into its TV mix. Last month, Amazon’s podcast arm Wondery launched three new channels on Freevee, the company’s FAST service.  The free streaming TV channels included the flagship Wondery podcast feed, one dedicated to sports and a third dedicated to true-crime podcasts. While podcasts, the shows feature a mix of on-camera interviews, animations and visual podcast artwork that’s designed for mobile and TV screen. It marked one of the first times an audio-based podcast network shifted into the FAST realm.