Oh stop it. The implication that the purchase of Fubo TV by FaceBank is part of a trend connected to Viacom’s purchase of Pluto TV, Comcast’s purchase of Xumo and Fox’s purchase of Tubi TV is missing the point. Those three purchases imply something totally different than a tech company that develops digital avatars buying start up in order to get into a still emerging market of cable replacement services.
The moves that legacy media companies are making by snatching up free AVOD companies have to do with major established brands finding a way to reach the audience, not where it is but where the industry thinks it will be down the line. When we heard that Viacom bought Pluto TV the first thing we wondered was how was the company going to leverage its properties like Comedy Central or MTV on Pluto’s free grid. When we heard that FaceBank was buying Fubo TV we said “What’s FaceBank”? If you pay attention to the reporting on this story you can tell a huge difference. Nobody has to explain what Comcast is when talking about XUMO.
If you are not familiar with FaceBank it is understandable though people in video production likely know it well. This is because FaceBank is the third name for the company in the last 15 years. But its legacy includes work on Star Wars Episode III and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The company has deeper pockets than Fubo TV and a different group of connections that has potential to set up a chance for it to grow.
Pluto TV and XUMO on the other hand are free streaming services that leverage traditional video ad support through curated live streaming channels based on brands and genre along with on-demand options built on the same library. Tubi TV has curated content all based on-demand. It to is a free to watch service with a huge collection of movies and TV shows etc.
Fubo TV on the other hand is like Sling TV or YouTube TV etc. It is a subscription based service offering a digitally delivered version of the traditional TV bundle at prices less than many major cable companies charge most importantly without a contract. The infusion of cash and cachet gives the service a better chance to continue to develop its niche as a sports centric TV service while it expands in more directions as far as content.