What’s a nice startup like fuboTV doing with a bunch of desperate telecoms and nefarious Silicon Valley giants like this? Probably trying to get sold.
That’s always the discussion that seems to come up with fuboTV, a startup virtual pay TV operator trying to carve out a niche in a low-margin, cutthroat market where it’s up against such deep-pocketed rivals as Sling TV, DirecTV Now, YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV and PlayStation Vue.
Indeed, fuboTV has been working hard lately to draw attention to itself with some impressive metrics. Though it reported total 250,000 subscribers — a bit less than was widely estimated — its average revenue per user was up more than 80% at the end of Q3 to $40, Q3, vs. $22 in September of 2017.
FuboTV also said its annual run rate was up 259% year over year to $102 million. Time spent per user was up 364% to 51 hours in September, and app downloads were up 418% to 752,000.
The company also said it now has carriage deals with more than 500 local broadcast-network affiliates nationwide, an important factor for consumers who often choose between vMVPDs based on the availability of local stations.
With major telecom operators like Verizon Communications eager to cede video programming to third parties, fuboTV would seem to be well-positioned for a handsome buyout offer.
Analysts point to fuboTV’s funding, which totals $150 million, led by a $55 million first round that featured Northzone and Luminari. Subsequent investments have included Discovery (which is launching its own OTT service and also backing startup vMVPD Philo TV), as well as 21st Century Fox, which just sold the bulk of its entertainment assets to The Walt Disney Co.
“There are a number of indicators that suggest they are preparing to be acquired,” Michael Greeson, who runs boutique OTT business research company The Diffusion Group, said.