fuboTV, the sports-oriented virtual MVPD, has inked deals with several programmers that will pave the way toward a new, and broader OTT-TV base package that will include some local broadcast network feeds and regional sports networks and start at $34.99 per month.
fuboTV announced Wednesday that it had secured agreements with Fox Networks Group, NBCUniversal, A+E Networks, Crown Media Family Networks, Fuse Media, NBA TV and The Weather Channel.
As a result, it plans to launch a new service, initially in beta form, in early January at the promotional price of $34.99 per month. fuboTV also plans to offer add-on packages, a cloud DVR capability, look back and start over offerings, and access to more than 25 TV Everywhere apps from its programming partners.
Customers who sign on for base package at the promotional price will get to keep it after fuboTV raises it to $49.99 per month in about 12 months, David Gandler, fuboTV’s CEO and co-founder, said, noting that the company is in talks with other programmers and network groups.
"We’re going to continue to drive sports networks into the most basic of tiers, and that comes at a cost,” Gandler said.
fuboTV plans to sunset its current $9.99 per month service and incent current subscribers in the coming weeks and months to sign up for the new, fuller version of fuboTV. fuboTV, which launched service in January 2015, ended Q2 2016 with 71,170 subscribers. Gandler said he expects fuboTV to start releasing updated sub numbers following the first quarter of 2017.
The new programming deals will essentially double fuboTV’s lineup. Joining the mix will be Fox, NBC, and Telemundo broadcast TV feeds (initially in their respective owned-and-operated markets), as well as regional sports networks from Fox Sports and NBC Sports, and national networks such as BTN, FS1, FS2, FOX College Sports, FOX Deportes, Golf Channel, NBA TV, NBCSN, NBC Universo, and Universal HD. Also included will be Fox Soccer Plus, which is typically offered by MVPDs on an a la carte basis.
The entry package will also include a slate of general, news and entertainment programming from A+E Networks (A&E Network, FYI, History, Lifetime, LMN, Viceland); Crown Media Family Networks (Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries); Fox Networks Group (Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FX, FXM, FXX, National Geographic, Nat Geo Mundo, Nat Geo WILD); Fuse Media (Fuse, FM); NBCU (Bravo, Chiller, Cloo, CNBC, CNBC World, E!, Esquire, MSNBC, Oxygen, Sprout, Syfy, USA Network); and The Weather Channel (Local Now, The Weather Channel).
Even with the wider array of programming, Gandler said fuboTV will continue to be a “sports-first” MVPD, calling it a “natural evolution” of an offering that will remain focused on offering the greatest number of sports networks in a baseline package.
Gandler believes this sports focus will help to fuboTV reach a specific audience and set it apart from other OTT-TV services such as the just-launched DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue and Sling TV, which, notably, do offer ESPN in their packages.
“There will be a learning curve over the next 24 to 36 months as we get a sense of who are customers are,” Gandler said.
But fuboTV, he added, will continue to cater to the audience that has been signing up for fuboTV in the early going – an age group of 18-34, 90% men, and 55% Hispanic.
And while fuboTV will also try to expand beyond that demographic group, it’s not trying to take over the world.
“We’re not interested in reaching 10 million subs. We have a very different program in mind,” Gandler said. “We’d like to be in the millions, but we're not trying to position for that top spot. We'll let the big guys battle it out for that. A distant third would not be bad."
FuboTV, which has raised $20.6 million so far, supports several platforms, including Web browsers, Amazon Fire TV boxes and sticks, Android and iOS mobile devices, Apple TV, Chromecast, Kindle Fire tablets, and Roku players and Roku TVs.
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