Fox, AMC Networks Lead $75 Million Funding Round for FuboTVBy
Sports-oriented online network takes on YouTube, Sling TV
More than 100,000 people pay for startup’s live TV service
21st Century Fox Inc., AMC Networks Inc. and Sky Plc are among the media companies investing $75 million in FuboTV Inc., a sports-oriented online video service that offers subscribers a less-expensive alternative to cable and satellite packages.
FuboTV will use the proceeds to hire more engineers and cover the cost of live programming from networks including CBS, Fox and NBC, according to a statement Wednesday. More than 100,000 people pay FuboTV for 70 or more channels delivered over the Internet. The basic package costs $45 a month, while additional services devoted to specific sports and premium channels cost more.
FuboTV, a New York-based startup, is competing with technology and telecommunications giants like YouTube, Hulu and Dish Network Corp.’s Sling TV, which are also trying to reform the decades-old model of cable TV and attract a younger generation of viewers who grew up watching videos on the internet. With the latest funding, FuboTV has raised $150 million.
The number of U.S. consumers who pay for satellite and cable-TV packages has declined in recent years, robbing the media companies of advertising sales and the fees they collect for each subscriber. A growing number of viewers are opting for on-demand services from Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. Those services don’t offer live sports, which are still the most popular programming on TV.
Traditional media companies like Fox and AMC, a new investor this round, are looking to FuboTV and its rivals, which offer so-called skinny bundles, to extend the availability of their networks to younger audiences who watch online. Fox is also an investor in Hulu.
FuboTV has yet to sign up two of the largest media companies, ABC and ESPN parent Walt Disney Co. and Time Warner Inc., which owns CNN and TNT. Those networks, among the most expensive on TV, are part of the packages sold by the other major providers.