I totally get where you’re coming from. The same was said about NFLX back when they first got into streaming. At first everyone was concerned the “content owners” would just keep raising prices and make it impossible for Netflix to acquire decent programming at reasonable prices. Then it was the “giants” would build their own platforms and crush them. Here we are more than a decade later, and neither of those worries ever came true. The “content owners” decided to restrict their content somewhat, so Netflix began creating their own. Then the giants decided to finally build their own platforms and attempt to compete. DIS is really the only other streaming platform that comes close to NFLX’s scale at this point, and yet we’re seeing that no one is interested in dropping NFLX, rather, they’re adding the other services and keeping NFLX.
I see the same happening for FUBO. They are the only real streaming service that focuses on sports. And they provide something like 200 different channels for non-sports programming. None of the other major streaming services focuses on live sports. It’s an after-thought, at best. For NFLX, it’s non-existent. The thing I like about Fubo is that I just don’t see much competition with them from anywhere. Fubo carries more local-market sports programming than anyone else. They’re becoming the go-to service for all thing sports.
Of the “giants” you mention (AAPL, NFLX, ROKU, HBO, Disney), I don’t see any of them ever trying to compete in this area.
AAPL has been playing with the idea of a streaming service for over a decade. Everyone was convinced that AAPL would kill NFLX. We’re still waiting for that to happen.
AMZN (even though you didn’t mention them) is the same story as AAPL, except they’re serious about streaming, just not as big or appealing as NFLX.
ROKU is only now getting into original content. They make their money off the devices, partnerships, and advertising. They’re not overly interested in focusing on sports, it’s too narrow of a niche, and too expensive for the return for them.
NFLX same story as ROKU with respect to cost/benefit of carrying sports.
HBO - They’ve been doing original content for 40+ years. And during all that time, the only thing they’ve done with sports has been the occasional PPV special, usually boxing or WWF events.
DIS - possibly the only one who might show an interest, given their ownership of ESPN. But DIS is a huge conglomerate. No one revenue stream moves their needle overly much. They lack the focus to bother with sports to the level it would be worth their while. This is observable in how they treat ESPN, which has been losing viewers for a long time now.
The other thing about FUBO is that they’re not focused on the U.S. They’re focus on sports is world-wide. And they’re being super smart about this. Look how much Amazon just paid for the exclusive rights to Thursday Night Football ?! $1B/year for 11 years! How big is the audience for Thursday night football? Sure, it’s huge. But it’s pretty much limited to the total number of people who care about American football. There are 18 regular season weeks and 3 pre-seasons weeks. Assuming every week has a Thursday game, that’s 21 games, at a cost of over $47.6M/game. The Super Bowl brings in ~150M viewers. Most of which probably do NOT tune into Thursday night games!
Fubo, on the other hand, has the exclusive rights to the 2020 Qatar World Cup qualifying soccer matches of the South American Football Confederation for the 2022 world cup. The deal includes 70 qualifying matches that are set to begin in June and extend into early 2022. The World Cup brings in more the 4x the viewership of the Super Bowl at over 500M viewers. Even if the South American qualifying matches (70 of them!) each bring in only 1% of the World Cup viewership, that’s 50K people per game, or over 350M viewers over 70 games. The terms of this deal have not been disclosed. But I doubt it was at a cost of $47M/game!
I’ll gladly take the bet on Fubo over any of the giants competing with them for live sports at this point. Which brings up another point. Fubo has developed an exclusive on-line, fully integrated sports betting platform that allows you to place bets while the game is streaming live! Fully integrated between your phone and your TV. No one else has that!
So, generally, their lack of profitability now doesn’t bother me much since most of my companies aren’t profitable anyway and won’t be. They’re investing in fast growth and first-mover-takes-most strategies. There are certainly things to watch out for, but worrying about what the giants might do, or that they’re not profitable (yet) aren’t those things.
Here are some great articles written up on Fubo that address your concerns from different angles:
The second one is by Starrob, and the last one by Beth Kindig who’s been interviewed by TMF a couple times. And you really should check out their earnings report in detail. They killed it this past quarter and project to do it again next quarter!