Tubi, Fox Corp.’s free, ad-supported streaming service, will enter the original programming arena this fall.
While no initial details are being offered about slate, Fox said it will feature 140 hours of animation, documentaries and shows across multiple genres.
The company made the announcement ahead of next week’s NewFronts, where Tubi will present its offerings to ad buyers in a virtual presentation on Monday. Show and talent will be confirmed in the coming weeks for originals that will join Tubi’s 30,000-plus library titles.
Divisions like animation specialist Bento Box, which Fox acquired in 2019, and Fox Alternative Entertainment will be key suppliers. The company’s announcement promises “premium independent-minded titles across the Black Cinema, thriller, horror, sci-fi, romance and western genres.”
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Tubi, which Fox bought for $440 million in a deal that closed last year, also reported that viewing time in the first quarter shot up 54%. The month of March saw a record 276 million streaming hours. Viewers’ median age of 37 is 20 years younger than that of linear TV, and 39% of the audience identifies as multicultural. Also, while the AVOD space is crowded, 68% of Tubi viewers say they do not watch other ad-supported streaming services.
Founded in 2014, Tubi was among an initial group of AVOD streaming outlets to make inroads, along with Pluto, Crackle, Xumo and others. The category has surged in popularity as advertising and viewership shifts, with NBCUniversal launching Peacock and Amazon backing IMDb TV, among other new players.
When Fox embarked on a new chapter as a streamlined, TV-centric company in 2019, having sold most of its previous incarnation to Disney, it did not intend to follow peers into subscription streaming. Seeing growth in ad-supported streaming, it opportunistically moved in on Tubi, which CEO Lachlan Murdoch has recently said is on its way to becoming a billion-dollar business. As it has been integrated with Fox, the service has streamed Fox mainstays like The Masked Singer following linear premieres.
“At Fox Entertainment, we’re engaging every part of the company, including Fox Alternative Entertainment and Bento Box, to develop original titles for Tubi,” Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier said. “Working together as one, we are combining all of our skills and talents with Tubi’s data-driven technology, to produce original content that speaks directly to Tubi’s passionate streaming audience.”
Data analysis will be a cornerstone of the original programming push, the company said. Tubi Original Documentaries will target the passions of viewers based on patterns on the platform, covering areas like true crime, the British royal family, paranormal events and the sinking of the Titanic. Tubi Originals will also be incorporated into Fox’s seasonal and tentpole programming initiatives, such as its upcoming “Hot Christmas” and shark-themed events later this year.
“Our data-driven original programming approach represents an important and strategic step in moving forward Tubi’s successful track record of disrupting the norm, and its longstanding mission to give our audience more of what they want,” Tubi CEO Farhad Massoudi said.