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fuboTV CEO Says Expansion of SVOD Services Will Drive Streamers to Live TV Streaming Services

Jeff Kotuby

One industry exec thinks the changing SVOD (Subscription Video On Demand) landscape will drive consumers away — and right into the arms of live TV streaming services.

David Gandler, the CEO and founder of fuboTV, said at an industry conference that he foresees a situation where streaming consumers, tired of rising prices and an overabundance of streaming services, will turn to live TV streaming distributors like fuboTV for their entertainment.

“I do believe vMVPDs (Virtual Multichannel Video Programming Distributors) will become the gateways of television when the street starts to push back on the cost associated with these SVOD services,” Gandler said, “and SVOD services will look for ways to be part of those bundles.”

First-quarter numbers for other vMVPDs may not have been stellar — but fuboTV grew during that period, to the tune of adding 43,000 subscribers reaching 590,000 subscribers. fuboTV has doubled down on its sports content, which may be one of the reasons for growth.

Outside of traditional sports stations like ESPN, NFL Network, and FS1, they also have the streaming rights to regional sports networks like Marquee Sports Network, MSG, NESN, AT&T SportsNet Southwest, and AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh, which also carry a Regional Sports Fee.

“We say, ‘come for the sports, stay for the entertainment. Sports drives acquisitions, it does not drive retention,” Gandler said.

The company doesn’t have TBS and TNT, which seem like would need to be added soon, since starting next season will carry the NHL, MLB, and NBA playoffs.

“Q1 saw several services that didn’t grow, but we saw that in the last Q1,” Gandler said. “What happens is someone cancels cable or satellite in Q1 and they wait until Q3 to sign up, either because they’re getting a new apartment, or it’s the NFL season. That has been, even for traditional cable, a historical time for signups.”

Gandler’s words are interesting, as rare is the situation where a live TV streaming service and a standalone SVOD service join forces. The closest outside example could be Hulu and Hulu Live TV, or YouTube TV and YouTube which act as complements to one another in the live/on-demand space.

“We know that media companies will eventually have to raise prices,” Gandler said. “Why? Because sports rights continue to cost more — we saw that with the NFL deal that was up 100% — we’ve seen that with more competition with respect to entertainment content with Apple and Amazon and others getting in to acquire series. Everyone is generally going to be paying more. Prices for those SVOD services right now are low because they want to get as many people in the door as possible, but ultimately prices will go up.”

If a SVOD service is interested in collaborating, we’re sure Gandler would be willing to listen.

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