fubo’s strength has long focused on being the ultimate streaming destination for sports fans, so seeing Q1 subscriber declines following the end of football season is to be expected, but the fact that the service does not currently carry one of the most important basketball broadcasters is an on-going concern for subscribers.
The live streaming service previously carried TNT, TBS, and TruTV, but parted ways with the Turner networks in 2020 over carriage fee disputes. This means that fuboTV subscribers are unable to watch any of TNT’s NBA coverage, TBS’s Major League Baseball broadcasts, or the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament across all three channels. So, it is no surprise that customers and analysts are always curious about the possibility of a renewed partnership between the streamer and the cable broadcaster.
In an earnings call on Thursday, fubo co-founder and CEO David Gandler was asked whether or not having the Turner channels on the fubo lineup was necessary to become the “all-encompassing sports” platform that the company envisions.
“I think what we’ve demonstrated last year is that we were able to continue to grow in excess of the market without Turner,” Gandler said. “Obviously, you always want to have more content rather than less content, but we don’t believe that it is a requirement to have Turner in order to continue to grow the way we have. So those conversations will continue and if the pricing is in line with our 2025 goal of hitting profitability, then there is a chance that we can always bring Turner back.”
One of the issues further complicating a fubo-Turner reunion is that Turner’s former parent company — WarnerMedia — was recently acquired by Discovery to create new conglomerate Warner Bros. Discovery. The streamer’s current deal with Discovery is set to expire in June, so there will be added negotiating levels between the companies.
The new Warner Bros. Discovery team has been vocal about wanting to cut budget and increase revenue, so how high their carriage fee demands will be for the suite of Discovery channels — including HGTV, the Food Network, etc. — could provide some insight into how WBD will handle any future negotiations over Turner channels.
Gandler’s comments echo those that he has made before. Obviously adding the Turner channels would be a marked improvement in fubo’s year-round sports coverage, but the CEO seems to be comfortable in moving forward without the cable networks if adding them would mean a substantial increase in subscription fees passed on to customers.
fuboTV is a live TV streaming service with about 90 channels for US$ 69.99/month. This plan includes local channels, 27 of the top 35 cable channels, and regional sports networks (RSNs).
The streaming service does not carry channels from WarnerMedia-owned (CNN, TBS, and TNT) and those from A+E (A&E, History Channel, and Lifetime).
fuboTV also includes MLB Network, NBA TV, NFL Network, NFL RedZone , NHL Network, and beIN Sports (which is not available on most services). You can add Fox Soccer Plus as part of the International Sports Plus add-on for US$ 6/month.