Just two years after it was purchased by Fox Corp. for $440 million, ad-supported streaming service Tubi has more than doubled its monthly active users, giving the programmer greater access to a much younger audience as it maneuvers to add content that will keep those eyeballs glued to the service.
Tubi was started in 2014 by two ad-tech execs -- Farhad Massoudi and Thomas Ahn Hicks -- to take early advantage of what they saw as the inevitable shift to streaming video. While still a startup, Tubi managed to land some big content deals --- NBCUniversal was an early content partner -- and adding to its growing appeal was an algorithm (called the Content Personalization Engine) that reprograms its customized library on the fly based on what a viewer is watching. Add to that one of the deepest content libraries in the business -- Tubi has more than 35,000 movies and TV shows, 95+ local and live news channels and more than 250 entertainment partners, including content from almost every major Hollywood studio -- it’s no wonder that the service has more than doubled its monthly users from about 25 million in 2020 to 51 million as of February 2022.
How Can I Get Tubi?
Tubi is available on Android, iOS, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Xfinity X1, Xbox, Samsung Smart TVs, Sony Smart TVs, PlayStation and the web. Users merely download the app and can begin watching from there -- no registration or sign in is required, although creating a free account does allow consumers to save movies and shows to a queue for later viewing and save their progress when they pause a video.
How Much Does Tubi Cost?
Tubi is free but the service is ad-supported, so viewers have to watch between four to eight minutes of commercials per hour of programming. That compares to about 12-to-13 minutes per hour for cable and broadcast TV. Unlike other AVOD services, Tubi does not offer an ad-free version for an additional monthly charge.
What Shows Can I Watch?
Through its relationship with Fox and more than 250 content partners, Tubi has arguably one of the largest libraries in streaming, with over 35,000 movies and TV shows, 95-plus local and live news channels. But the movies tend to skew toward older fare (The Terminator; The Goonies, Run Silent Run Deep), as does its TV programming -- classic TV like The Nanny, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Carol Burnett Show and Columbo; and reality shows like Project Runway and Hell’s Kitchen. Tubi began offering original programming in 2021, and the slate is growing, with adult animation like The Freak Brothers, documentaries like Gone Before Her Time: When the Music Stopped; Celebrity Exorcism; and Pass the Mic: A Movement Generation in the Making; dramas like Howard High; and horror and thriller flicks like Titanic 666 and Deadly Cheer Mom.
Sports lovers can watch sports highlights, daily studio content and original programming on Fox Sports; curated programming and content from NFL Films and NFL Media on the NFL Channel; live events, exclusive series, movies and news on fubu Sports Network; live and on-demand games and studio content on Stadium; select events, classic games and behind-the-scenes stories on PAC-12 Insider, classic games, highlights and shows on MLB; highlights game re-airs, originals and condensed games from the Atlantic Coast Conference on ACC Digital Network; drag racing on NHRA TV; live sports, news, analysis and highlights on beIN Sports Xtra, to name a few. News content includes national programming from ABC News Live, NBC News Now, LiveNOW from Fox; “Good news” content from Localish, News 12 New York, Cheddar News; weather programming from Fox Weather and Weather Nation; and business news from Bloomberg TV.
Kids programming includes family movies like Garfield: The Movie; Like Mike, Ernest in the Army; Baby Shark and A Turtle’s Tale, and animated series like The Flintstones; Scooby Doo Where Are You? and Pokemon The Series: Black and White. Shows for preschoolers include Yo Gabba Gabba!, and Barney and Friends.
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Mike Farrell is senior content producer, finance for Multichannel News/B+C, covering finance, operations and M&A at cable operators and networks across the industry. He joined Multichannel News in September 1998 and has written about major deals and top players in the business ever since. He also writes the On The Money blog, offering deeper dives into a wide variety of topics including, retransmission consent, regional sports networks,and streaming video. In 2015 he won the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Profile, an in-depth look at the Syfy Network’s Sharknado franchise and its impact on the industry.