Over-the-top pay TV provider FuboTV released its first letter to shareholders, which includes some previously undisclosed financial and operating data, as part of plans to list on a major stock exchange in the near future.
FuboTV, first launched in 2015 as a soccer-streaming service, remains much smaller than competitors: The company said its TV subscriber base grew 37% in 2019, to end the year with 315,789 paid subscribers. By contrast, Hulu had 3.2 million live TV customers at the end of 2019, Dish’s Sling TV had 2.6 million and YouTube TV had over 2 million.
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In 2019, Fubo TV’s subscription revenue nearly doubled — up 90% year-over-year — to $133.3 million. That in part was driven by price hikes in March 2019. For the first quarter of 2020, subscription revenue is expected to be up over 70% annually, the company said. Advertising revenue for full-year 2019 was $12.4 million, a threefold jump year over year.
Fubo TV last month merged with Facebank Group, a tech company that creates digital likenesses of celebrities and sports stars. The combined company’s 2019 revenue increased 96% year-over-year to $146.5 million, meaning Facebank’s revenue amounted to about $13.2 million last year.
FuboTV didn’t disclose additional financial info like operating costs or net income/loss.
Under the terms of Facebank’s acquisition of FuboTV, Facebank said it obtained a line of credit of $100 million for the benefit of FuboTV. The company’s stock is currently traded over-the-counter under the symbol “FUBO” and currently has a market cap of about $1 billion.
FuboTV CEO David Gandler, in the letter released Monday, didn’t shed any new light on what kinds of synergies FuboTV and Facebank expect to achieve through their combo. “We believe our merger with Facebank offers an incredible opportunity to create a global digital entertainment company that continues to offer a premium live TV streaming platform and also expands into original content production,” he wrote in the letter.
“We are extremely excited to begin sharing the combined FuboTV and Facebank Group story with the investment community,” Gandler wrote. “We believe that we are at the very early stages of our growth and that we are at an inflection point in the TV industry where streaming has begun to surpass linear in several key areas, including content variety, flexible access and cost savings to consumers.”
Addressing the lack of live sports amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Gandler claimed that FuboTV’s expansion to “a cable TV replacement product means we are not just reliant on live sports – news and entertainment typically drives a significant portion of total viewership.”
“While our business has been impacted by the reduced availability of live sporting events due to current shelter-in-place and related restrictions, we have continued to see growing engagement of our subscribers with news and entertainment content as consumers seek to stay informed and entertained,” he wrote.
Last week, FuboTV announced Edgar Bronfman Jr., former chairman/CEO of Warner Music Group, as executive chairman of the company.
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