Thursday December 7, 2023

FuboTV’s Uncertain Position in the Streaming Wars

  • FuboTV posted record revenues, but also a sharp uptick in operating costs in Q1, leading to a loss on the quarter.
  • Analysts are divided on the long-term prospects of the streaming bundler service.
FuboTV/Design: Alex Brooks
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FuboTV hit a record with its Q1 earnings. The question now is whether those figures represent a trajectory or a peak.

The streaming platform grew revenue 135% year-over-year to $119.7 million in the quarter — but also sustained an 80% increase in operating expenses, leading to an overall loss of $70.2 million.

Launched in 2015, the company’s 590,430 subscribers are dwarfed by legacy companies with huge portfolios of original content and streaming rights.

  • Peacock, with 33 million subscribers, includes the NBC Sports network of shows and broadcasts.
  • ViacomCBS reached 36 million subscribers across its various streaming services, namely Paramount+, which was buoyed by the Super Bowl and NCAA tournament.
  • Disney+ reached 100 million subscribers in March. Some subscribers bundle with ESPN+, which has 12 million subscribers and is solely focused on sports broadcasting and original content. 

Though some see reason to be bearish on fuboTV — like the Q1 addition of only 43,000 net subscribers despite $22.1 million spent on sales and marketing — the broader reaction to its earnings was positive.

FuboTV’s stock shot up nearly 30% from Tuesday morning to Wednesday morning before settling down to a 23% increase by midday Wednesday, on a day that was otherwise a bloodbath for the market.

The leading reason to be bullish on fuboTV? Fubo Sportsbook, which launches in Q4 2021 and already has licenses to operate in Indiana, Iowa, and New Jersey. The company acknowledged growing competition in the space but said its ability to “combine streaming and gaming” into one experience will set it apart.

DraftKings could emerge as a rival. The company already integrates its sportsbook with Dish and its OTT subsidiary Sling in a limited capacity, but there’s speculation that it wants build its own OTT service from the ground up.

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