Lionsgate, MGM License Movies to Tubi TV, Invest in Streaming Service's Parent Company

'Crash,' Best Picture (2006)
Photofest

Paul Haggis' Crash wasn't really part of the Oscar conversation early on. It came out in May 2004 to mixed reviews. Brokeback Mountain, the gorgeous, tragic gay Western, exploded into popular consciousness and was poised to make Oscar history. It was loved by, well, everyone. But heading into Oscar night, there were whispers that Crash would pull an upset. It didn't seem possible until it was reality. Haggis looked as shocked as anyone. What happened? Did Brokeback's gay subject matter make the Academy uncomfortable? Maybe. Did L.A.-based Crash speak, on the nose, to the fears of the mostly Angeleno voters? Probably. Regardless, it's considered Oscar's ugliest black eye, a surprise that can't be explained or forgotten.

The content deal adds films like 'Midnight Cowboy,' 'Crash' and 'Rain Man' to the free, ad-supported service.

MGM and Lionsgate have opened their movie vaults to license hundreds of older titles to Tubi TV, including Midnight Cowboy, Crash, Rain Man and The Hurt Locker.

The content deal follows the studios making investments in Tubi TV parent Adrise, a San Francisco-based digital media firm. The total value of both investments is said to be in the single-digit millions, with MGM acquiring the bigger stake of the pair. The advertiser-supported online streaming service offers free movies and TV shows and signed an earlier licensing deal with Paramount Pictures.

"This agreement reflects our ongoing commitment to license our content across an expanding array of ad-supported digital platforms and serve next generation audiences around the world," Lionsgate president of worldwide TV and digital distribution Jim Packer said in a statement Thursday.

Tubi TV is led by Farhad Massoudi, founder and CEO. With the MGM and Lionsgate titles that also include Pink Panther, Fargo and American Psycho, the streamer's offering is currently at around 40,000 movies and TV shows.

"MGM’s investment and license agreements enable the studio to expand into OTT services, allowing consumers to find MGM films and series on multiple platforms," John Bryan, president of domestic TV distribution at MGM, added in his own statement.

Besides MGM and Lionsgate, Cota Capital also joins Tubi TV as an investor. Tubi TV is available for free on Web, iOS, Android, and connected devices including Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Samsung, and most recently the new version of Apple TV.

Nov. 19, 12:45 p.m. Updated to indicate MGM making a bigger investment in Adrise than Lionsgate.