Tubi Returns to Crack the Crowded UK Streaming Market

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Fox Corporation’s ad-supported streaming service, Tubi, will shortly launch in the UK with more than 20,000 movies and TV episodes available on demand.

“Outside of North America, this is a big one,” Tubi CEO Anjali Sud told Variety ahead of the launch.

The FAST service utilises machine learning to deliver personalized user experiences, said the company. Tubi will be available in the UK across every major TV platform, iOS and Android smartphones and on the internet.

In the U.S, Tubi recently tied with Disney+ in total viewing time according to Nielsen’s The Gauge Report, and continued to be the No. 1 AVoD player. Its UK content library will feature curated content from distributors such as Disney, Lionsgate, NBCUniversal and Sony Pictures, alongside a range of Tubi originals, said the company.

The UK averages 2.3 SVOD services per OTT household, which appears to be nearing its limit., according to Ampere Analysis. “Tubi offers a large, ad-supported VoD library of popular movies and TV shows through which audiences can supplement their paid-for viewing,” Ampere Senior Analyst, Orina Zhao told Streaming Media. “However, unlike in the US, the UK’s free VOD market is already competitive due to broadcaster-led VOD (BVoD) services like BBC iPlayer, ITVX, and Channel 4, with 72% of consumers regularly accessing BVoD.

For Tubi to succeed in what is already a tight attention environment, it must build upon its content offering and ensure accessibility and discoverability through smart TV and OTT box partnerships," she added.

To support its U.K. launch, Tubi is rolling out an ad campaign later in July that takes aim at perceived snobbery in the entertainment world, with posters and commercials encouraging people to “watch what you actually want to watch,” rather than more high-brow content they believe they should be watching.

Speaking to Deadline, CEO Anjali Sud explained that Tubi’s movie library will be “10 times the size of a [British] broadcaster” at launch and be available on “every major platform.”

“It’s not like the world needs another streamer so you have to ask yourselves what problem you are trying to solve,” said Sud, who joined from Vimeo last year. “When you gravitate to the median viewer, there is a tendency to chase ratings and ad dollars, and a risk of creating a mono culture.”

Abi Watson, senior media analyst at Enders, told the BBC that while Tubi had “been very successful in the US” the UK was a "very different media environment".

"It is already well-catered for in the free online video space as the public service broadcasters have invested heavily," she added.

She said a service with “little or no unique content” such as Tubi could find it difficult to gain traction - although efforts by foreign operators to break into the UK's free video streaming market had "so far been half-hearted.”

Tubi execs also claim that the this is not part of a broader global domination strategy. “We really asked ourselves if there is something unique in this market where we can bring value to British audiences?” Sud told The Hollywood Reporter. “When we look at the traditional broadcasters, there’s just naturally a tendency to focus on programming for the middle, for the median viewer, which can lead to a bit of a monoculture kind of approach.

She added, “The U.K. is a melting pot, and culture is moving fast. [It has] younger audiences coming online, and they want to see themselves and their life experiences and the things they care about reflected in movies and TV series, and we have an opportunity to do that.”

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