This Should Be fuboTV’s 2019 New Year’s Resolution
To start the New Year, we have been taking a look back at each of the 7 Live TV Streaming Service’s past year, and what we hope lies ahead in 2019. We’ve shared our New Year’s Resolutions for Hulu Live TV, PlayStation Vue, Sling TV, YouTubeTV, and DIRECTV NOW — and today we’ll look at fuboTV.
When we look back at fuboTV in 2018, we saw a transition from a niche sports-focused streaming service to a true cable replacement and one positioned to compete larger, more well-funded competitors.
Coming into 2018, fuboTV had about 100,000 subscribers, limited reach of locals channels, few top cable channels, and an outdated interface on some of their platforms.
Just before the New Year, fuboTV released an updated Roku app that brought their well-designed interface to Roku streaming players.
Following up on the release, the company would release their updated Apple TV app which featured an updated vertical grid guide, network pages to browse on-demand, and a new player that allow you to pause and play. Other platforms would see the new features in March.
On mobile, fuboTV would bring their brand new interface to Android in March followed by iOS in late April. By the end of the year, the company would have a consistent interface across all platforms - Web, TV, and Mobile.
New Channels and Bundles
In their transition from sports streaming service to cable alternative, their channel lineup was lacking. While they had the best coverage of Regional Sports Networks, they had the few Top Cable Channels and limited reach of locals.
In February, the company raised the price of fubo from $40 to $45. At the time, it was more expensive with a less content than any of the other Live TV Streaming Services. But with the price increase, the company invested in expanding their bundle.
The first set of major networks came from AMC (AMC, BBC America, Sundance, IFC, and WE tv) in March. Then in May, the company rebranded fubo Premier to Fubo ($45) and announced their fubo Extra plan with 12 additional channels ($50) like Game Show Network, Cooking Channel, and Sony Movie Channel. This would enable them to offer additional channels without affecting the price of the base bundle.
Then in August, the company made their next big content move when they added all channels from Turner (TNT, TBS, CNN, Adult Swim, truTV, etc.).
While they went into 2018 with only 16 of the Top 35 Cable Channels, they would end with 22 — more than YouTube TV. The biggest gaps on the service remain networks owned by Disney (ABC, ESPN, and Disney Channel), Discovery Networks (Discovery, Investigation Discovery, TLC, etc.), and Viacom (MTV, VH1, etc.).
New Local Channels
At the end of 2017, it was the exception if you could get local channels with fuboTV. The company had CBS coverage in 50% of U.S. Households, FOX in 75%, and NBC in only 35%.
Throughout the year, the company aggressively added new local affiliates to the service. By the end of the year, fuboTV had CBS in 82% of U.S. Households, FOX in 94%, and NBC in 85%.
In July, just in time for the World Cup — fuboTV became the first Live TV Streaming Service to stream in 4K. Throughout the year the company would expand their 4K Beta to Premier League, MLB, and College Football.
Coming into 2019, they are still the only Live TV Streaming Service to broadcast anything in 4K.
To support the company’s growth, they added $75 million in investment in April to bring their total raised to $150 million. The round included media companies including AMC Networks, 21st Century Fox, and Scripps Interactive.
Paying Off with Growh
In September 2017, the company announced that they had reached 100,000 subscribers. Just a year later, the company would announce that they had reached 250,000 paid subscribers with users spending nearly 51 hours on the service each month (+364%).
The streaming service would now generate over $100 million per month with customers spending on average $40 a month compared to $22 the year before.
With the growth in the U.S., the company saw an opportunity to expand internationally. In December, they became the first U.S. vMVPD to launch in Europe with a service in Spain called fubo España.
Going into 2019, the company is in a much better place. They had an incredible year of growth, but they still have the fewest subscribers of any of the major streaming services.
It seems one of their bets is to go international. But, in order to compete in the U.S., we think the company has to rethink their channel bundle and improve their DVR.
fuboTV’s 2019 New Year’s Resolution
While 2018 saw fuboTV become a legitimate competitor to the other bigger and more well-funded streaming services, it felt that they tried to become them instead of sticking to their core. Our resolution for fuboTV is to become the best way to watch sports online.
For a company that started a sports-focused streaming service, their biggest issue is that they don’t have ESPN. Without ESPN and ABC, it’s hard to see them being the best alternative for a sports fan — unless you watch only regional sports.
Without ESPN, they’re missing out on a substantial amount of nationally televised NBA, MLB, NFL, and College Sports. Sure, they have NBA TV, NFL Network, and NFL RedZone — but they’re also missing MLB Network and NHL Network.
An interesting twist would be if the service gave customers a free subscription to ESPN+. While it wouldn’t replace ESPN, it would at least give the sports fan more NHL, MLB, MLS, and College Sports content.
While it’s tempting to be a cable replacement for everyone, sometimes that makes you a cable replacement for no one. While they should continue to offer plans that cater to the entire home, they should offer a separate bundle that focuses purely on sports — and in 2019 try to be the best way to watch sports online.
Want to Learn More About Live TV Streaming Services?
- You can read our comprehensive fuboTV review which highlights channels, features, performance, and supported devices, and more.
- You can read comparison of 7 different cord-cutting services including DIRECTV NOW, PlayStation Vue, fuboTV, Hulu Live TV, Philo, Sling TV, and YouTube TV.
- If you need a recommendation, use Channel Finder to add your favorite channels, shows, and sports teams and we’ll tell you the best service for you.