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Should fuboTV Get All of PS Vue’s Old Subscribers?
All right, fuboTV.
Now there have been a lot of headlines lately around their competitors, so it's been a while since we talked about fuboTV itself.
But hey I think we can be forgiven right?
I mean PlayStation Vue is shutting down, Hulu has raised their live TV price by $10, YouTube TV finally got rid of forced ads on the DVR, thank God. Sling TV had to remove on-demand content from FOX and NBC, and so on and so forth.
Meanwhile, we've got fuboTV over here in the corner just quietly going about their business and delivering live TV to cord-cutters, generating no big headlines lately, good or bad. So, how's that working out for them?
Well, it's hard to tell really.
We haven't had any hard numbers for fuboTV since 2018, but in my conversation with their CEO David Gandler, he struck a pretty optimistic tone.
Well, I mean, of course he did, he's the freaking CEO, but still, is there reason to think that the future is bright for fuboTV? Is this a service that you should take a second look at? Well, let's find out. Let's dive in.
fuboTV prices, channels, and features
Now, before we get into anything else, let's just establish some facts about fuboTV, kind of where they're at right now.
We've got a base package at fuboTV that starts at $54.99/mo. after a 7-day free trial. That's gonna get you 110 channels, including 43 out of the top 50 cable channels.
Now that standard package gets you two simultaneous streams and 30 hours of DVR, both of which can be upgraded for an additional fee. Plenty of local channels, probably, depending on your area and 10 national news channels.
Now there's also an Ultra package for $80 a month and that gets you 170 channels. Maybe we'll come back to that Ultra package, maybe not.
Anyway, either way, you get tons of channels and dozens of those will be sports channels, but there is one huge, ugly, glaring omission, and that's ESPN.
What sports do I get with fuboTV?
So fuboTV bills itself as sports first, but it lacks ESPN? That might be a tough pill to swallow for some of those, especially those who love say college football. But for most sports, you can probably getting around not having ESPN.
And fuboTV really is sports first, especially when it comes to soccer, international soccer specifically, but lots of other sports as well. That is Fubo's foundation.
Of the 110 channels in their base package, more than 40 of those are sports channels.
Yeah, they are missing ESPN, but they've got the NFL Network, Pac-12 Network, CBS Sports, the beIN networks, and 80% of the regional sports networks across the country. Not bad at all.
But what about all that other stuff? Why do you have 70 other channels on Fubo?
If you're all about sports, why bother at all with AMC and BBC and the E! Channel, and Discovery and all of the other stuff that has nothing to do with sports. I mean, like I've said before, carrying all of those channels gets expensive for fuboTV and thus, expensive for you. And this is where, in my opinion, things get pretty interesting.
The future of fuboTV
Like I said, I spoke recently with David Gandler, Fubo's CEO, and, honestly, most of what he said was basically what you would expect. Fubo's doing great. We're gonna double our revenue is 2020. We plan to capture 10% of the paid TV market.
By the way, that would be eight million subscribers. Let's call that a long-term goal. But he did say one thing that really caught my attention.
He said, "We only compete with two other services: "Hulu Live and YouTube TV".
I was wondering the same thing you are. What about all of your, you know, other competitors?
Well, let's run through the list.
He did mention, like I said, Hulu Live and YouTube TV, so there's that. Well, PlayStation Vue, like I said, is shutting down, so they're out. AT&T TV NOW, the artist formerly known as DIRECTV NOW, is being rolled into HBO Max, and that kind of indicates that live TV is less of a priority for AT&T than their other stuff. And that leaves pretty much Sling TV, maybe Philo?
Well, I've been thinking about this a lot since that conversation, and here's what I've come up with.
Gandler was making a distinction between cord-cutting services and cable replacement services, those are his words, not mine, and, frankly, I would love to hear your thoughts on whether you buy this distinction or not, so after I go through this, be sure to comment below. Let me know what you think of that.
What’s the difference between cord-cutting and cable replacement?
So here's the question. Is there a distinction at all between cord-cutting and cable replacement? Does that even make sense?
Well, maybe not at first glance, but think of it this way, what do you think of when you think of cord-cutting? I'll bet saving money is high on your list and so is getting rid of your bloated TV package with more channels than you could ever, ever watch.
So when you think of cord-cutting, you think of something like Sling TV, where you can get a $30/mo. package with lots of channels.
Maybe not a ton, certainly not like Fubo's got. You can customize it 100 different ways and it can get expensive, but that base package is pretty low, so you can save quite a bit of money.
A cable replacement service, on the other hand, is just that, something that's meant to replicate your experience with your cable or satellite provider, right down to the high price and massive channel count. And that's exactly what Hulu Live, YouTube TV, and fuboTV are trying to bring you.
Why should I switch to live TV streaming?
So what's the advantage here?
Why bother nixing your cable subscription at all if you're just gonna end up with the same kind of thing with fuboTV?
Well, for one thing, contracts are a thing of the past for streaming TV providers and I'm sure we're all grateful for that. You also tend to get more options for where and how you watch your content. And fuboTV can do all of that stuff while delivering the sort of everything for everyone package that you used to get from cable.
Now, as I've noted before, there are basically two reasons why live TV even exists anymore. Sports and news.
Obviously, like we said, Fubo's got the sports side covered, but they're also surprisingly strong on the news side with more news channels than any of their competitors. FOX News, FOX Business, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, CBSN, HLN, Cheddar, and more that I'm probably forgetting off the top of my head.
But the bottom line is this: with the giant exception of ESPN, which is frankly just too expensive for a company like fuboTV to add to its lineup if you can think of a reason to cut the cord, but keep live TV, fuboTV has that reason in spades.
Should I switch to fuboTV?
So is the future rosy for Fubo? Should you be using it?
Well, those are two very different questions. Now, I've liked fuboTV for a long time, and I like them even more now at the end of 2019 having had a chance to dig in a little bit and learn more about it.
So on an individual level, I'm happy to recommend fuboTV and say that as long as you can work around the lack of ESPN, and as long as you know going into it that this is not really necessarily a cash saving play, then I think it's a great cable replacement.
Now not all of you will be looking for that sort of thing so it'll be easy to know if fuboTV is for you or not. But there's no reason that it couldn't compete with, and in some ways exceed, Hulu Live and YouTube TV, its main competitors, in a side by side taste test.
Now as for Fubo's predictions of huge subscriber gains through 2020 and beyond, well I'm in full wait and see mode on this one.
Now they've promised to announce some numbers soon and so that'd be great if they blew my mind with that, but ultimately, I think it's gonna be hard to compete in a space where your direct competitors are Google and Disney, both of which are fielding perfectly good products of their own, and both of which can back up a dump truck full of cash to back 'em up, right?
So will live TV streaming have a big three or will fuboTV end up getting elbowed out the way PlayStation Vue was?
Frankly, I have no idea, but it is gonna be a fun ride to watch and I think fuboTV is gonna be an interesting one to keep an eye on through 2020.
All right, you all know the drill. I liked it, I didn't like it. Get subscribed. Oh, and hit the comments. What say you? Are you a fuboTV believer? What is it? A Fuboliever? Fuboliever! All right, should this be our new thing? A portmanteau for every video. We're fun.