Sports-Centric Video Streamer fuboTV Adds Fox, NBCUniversal, A+E Channels

fuboTV - H 2016
Courtesy of fuboTV

The service will continue to focus on sports fare, but also offer entertainment, news and other networks for an introductory monthly price of $34.99 after deals with entertaiment giants, NBA TV and others.

Video-streaming service fuboTV, which earlier this year got investments from 21st Century Fox and European pay TV giant Sky, is more than doubling the lineup of national channels it offers and expanding beyond sports via affiliate agreements with Fox Networks Group, NBCUniversal, A+E Networks, Crown Media Family Networks, Fuse Media, NBA TV and The Weather Channel.

As a result, the privately held company will relaunch its over-the-top service, which has been particularly popular with male Hispanics, with new channels, including news and entertainment networks, and features, but maintain its core focus on sports.

fuboTV, which launched in Jan. 2015 and had 71,170 subscribers as of June 30, says its new entry-level tier will offer more than 70 channels, including national broadcast and cable networks, regional sports networks and local broadcast stations, up from 24 sports channels. It says that it will provide the "most comprehensive bundle of sports networks in the OTT space." Possible further tiers could be introduced over time.

The beta version of the new service will in the coming weeks be available for a discounted rate of $34.99 per month, which will rise to $49.99 once out of beta. Current subscribers have been paying $9.99 per month.

The news comes after the recent launch of DirecTV Now, which is offering 100-plus channels for an introductory price of $35 per month that will later give subscribers 60-plus channels, and planned live TV streaming services from Hulu and Google/YouTube.

Channels with sports programming being added for fuboTV beta subscribers in the coming weeks will include Fox, NBC and Telemundo-owned broadcast stations, regional sports networks from Fox and NBC, as well as BTNFS1FS2, Fox College Sports, Fox Deportes, Golf Channel, NBA TV, NBC Sports Network, NBC Universo and Universal HD, among others. The lineup will also include channels that are typically only available via expanded pay TV tiers, such as Fox Soccer Plus.

As a result, fuboTV will allow users to watch live events from the major American professional and college sports, as well as international leagues and tournaments, including soccer, baseball, basketball, boxing, cricket, cycling, football, golf, hockey, horse racing, mixed martial arts, motor sports, professional wrestling, rugby and tennis.

fuboTV will also start offering a number of general interest, entertainment and news channels on its entry tier, such as A&E Network, History, Lifetime, Viceland, Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FX, FXM, FXX, National Geographic, Fuse, Bravo, Chiller, CNBC, E!, Esquire, MSNBC, Oxygen, Sprout, Syfy, USA, Local Now and The Weather Channel.

In addition to live content, video-on-demand entertainment programming from the new networks will be available to subscribers.

"Today’s announcement underscores our commitment to our subscribers to deliver a robust lineup of premium sports and entertainment, from the finest media brands in the world," said fuboTV CEO and co-founder David Gandler. "We are equally determined to drive significant value to our expanding list of media partners beyond licensing fees — leveraging our technical capabilities to meet the monetization challenges unique to live streaming."

Asked if the company was in talks to possibly add ESPN, ABC, CBS and other networks over time, Gandler tells THR: "We are not prepared to comment on any networks outside of the groups mentioned" in the Wednesday announcement.

Why did fuboTV want to add general entertainment networks to the core sports channels in its lineup? "Many of our current subscribers have suggested that we increase the scope of our content beyond soccer and sports," Gandler explains. "As such, the package composition here is an effort to address those needs and consequently deliver an experience that is in line with our users' expectations."

He says he feels good about the company's position. "Over the last 12-14 months fubo has successfully competed against similar offerings from SlingTV (World Sports package) and from go90," Gandler tells THR. "Since then, we have more than tripled our subscriber base. That said, we are equally comfortable increasing the breadth and scope of our offering. The financial results [is] higher average revenue per user at great scale."

How does he see fuboTV’s positioning compared to DirecTV Now and planned services from Hulu and Google/YouTube? Gandler calls sports "a key differentiator." 

Earlier this year, Fox and Sky, in which Fox owns a 39 percent stake, invested $6 million each in fuboTV as part of a $15 million round of funding that also included 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.