Fox, Sky Lead $15 Million Funding Round for Video Streaming Service fuboTV
ICM Partners' Chris Silbermann, former NBA commissioner David Stern and Edgar Bronfman Jr. are also among those putting money into the U.S. company that provides subscribers with a bundle of sports channels.
21st Century Fox and pan-European pay TV giant Sky, in which Fox owns a 39 percent stake, have invested $6 million each in fuboTV, a U.S.-based video streaming service that provides subscribers with a premium, over-the-top bundle of sports TV channels.
The investment is part of a $15 million fuboTV round of funding that also includes investments from ICM Partners' Chris Silbermann, former NBA commissioner David Stern, Edgar Bronfman Jr., managing partner at Accretive LLC and former CEO and chairman of Warner Music Group, DCM Ventures, Luminari Capital and LionTree Partners.
The company's earlier investors also include Univision Communications, and it received seed investments from Anthony Vinciquerra, former CEO of Fox Networks Group, and Blake Krikorian, co-founder of Sling Media. Both Sky and Fox will take board positions.
The company said it would use the funding to grow its expanding sports-first streaming video offering, develop new features and market the service to increase its subscriber base.
Launched in January 2015, fuboTV says it is the second-largest aggregator and distributor of OTT sports content and the fastest-growing virtual pay TV operator in the U.S. with more than 40,000 subscribers. Its customer base is dominated by millennial males who are not traditional pay TV customers, with 30 percent of its users being Latin American. the company provides access to video content in English, Spanish and Portuguese via www.fubo.tv, as well as Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV and iOS and Android devices.
The company offers that content via U.S. distribution deals with TV channels that hold rights to major sporting events, including live soccer matches from more than half of the top international leagues and tournaments. Partners include Univision, beIN Sports and GolTV.
“We are very impressed by the fuboTV management team and the great progress they have made in a very short time,” said Ravi Ahuja, executive vp business operations and development for 21st Century Fox's Fox Networks Group. “Ultimately, we believe streaming services like fuboTV will drive further innovation and be a win-win for consumers and programmers.”
"We’re excited to be investing in fuboTV, at a time when our customers are looking to consume more and more content, whenever and wherever they are," said Emma Lloyd, director of corporate development and strategic investments at Sky. "This investment will provide Sky with real insight, and we look forward to working with the fuboTV team as they continue to explore new opportunities for growth."
“The support from two of the most prominent media companies in the world strongly positions fuboTV to meet the demands of the quickly evolving sports rights ecosystem," said David Gandler, co-founder and CEO of fuboTV. "Investment from 21st Century Fox, Sky and the prominent individuals and organizations part of this series B round demonstrates our potential to become leaders among linear OTT services.”
The deal news comes a day after Sky unveiled a $45 million investment in and strategic partnership with iflix, a streaming TV service in Southeast Asia.
Previous Sky investments include deals with sports marketing firm InCrowd Sports, online sports network Whistle Sports, programmatic advertising company DataXu, OTT video company TV4 Entertainment, IP streaming service provider Roku and cinematic virtual reality company Jaunt.