Tubi touts big growth in 2018, commits $100M to 2019 content licensing

Tubi is taking a victory lap on its fourth-quarter results and sending a pointed “open for business” message to advertisers who are looking for more engaged audiences than they’re finding right now on broadcasting and cable.

“In 2018 we at Tubi saw tremendous growth as consumers, fatigued by SVOD subscriptions and services, sought alternative entertainment choices,” Tubi CEO Farhad Massoudi said in an announcement on Tuesday about the company’s 2018 viewing and revenue metrics. “We will continue to use profits to make bigger bets on content, enhance the viewing experience, and continue to press ahead into new grounds in what is our core advantage: technology and data.”

The free, ad-supported streaming service pointed to a significant uptick in overall consumer use over the past year:

  • Total hours viewed more than quadrupled year over year, growing 4.3x from 2017 to 2018.
  • Total hours viewed for December 2018 nearly equaled total viewing for all of 2017.
  • The service’s catalog now includes more than 12,000 movie titles and TV shows, which Tubi touts as “more than double in size to Netflix.”
  • The company, which is backed by Lionsgate, MGM and several VC firms, said it reached profitability in the fourth quarter of 2018 and plans to spend more than $100 million on content licensing in 2019 but declined to provide more specific financials.

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The announcement, which touts Tubi’s reach on TV platforms like Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Xfinity X1, appeared aimed at media buyers who are seeing declining returns from their spends on broadcast and cable TV. Tubi touted its partnership with Horizon Media, which places advertising on OTT platforms for brands like Geico and Corona.

“With linear TV ratings in continuing decline, advertising demand for OTT is strongest from brands replacing lost reach with their TV spend,” the announcement said. “In 2018, over 1,000 advertisers ran campaigns on Tubi, with the majority of the top CPG and automotive advertisers reaching audiences in movies and TV shows on Tubi.”

Tubi is part of an emerging land grab for AVOD viewership in 2019. Already in the new year, Viacom bought ad-supported Pluto TV, Hulu dropped the price of its ad-supported tier, Amazon launched ad-supported IMDb Freedive, and Roku added the ad-supported Roku Channel to its Roku app for iPhone and iPad.