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fuboTV might not be a cheap live TV streaming service, but it is one that offers a comprehensive sports package as its major sales pitch. Considering sports is one of the pain points for consumers when switching from traditional TV providers to streaming solutions, it would be fair to assume fuboTV is a sought-after service.
However, that’s not really the case. In April, fuboTV and FaceBank Group merged, and while the company still does business as fuboTV, FaceBank Group today released a letter to shareholders confirming that at the close of 2019, fuboTV had 315,789 paid subscribers. A figure that represented a 37 percent year-over-year increase.
fuboTV should have more subscribers
While it is clear that fuboTV is gaining subscribers, it is the rate of gains that seems as important here as the actual gains themselves. For example, according to the company, fuboTV gained 87,000 subscribers during 2019. Again, according to the company, the 229,000 it had at the close of 2018 was 97,000 more than at the close of 2017. Based on those numbers alone, while fuboTV gained subscribers in 2019, it gained less than it did in 2018.
What’s more, this is at a time when the other services just keeping gaining subscribers. Cord cutting continues to increase, PlayStation Vue is no longer operational (resulting in many existing cord cutters having had to find an alternative), and AT&T TV NOW continues to hemorrhage subscribers each and every quarter. With all these circumstances combined, it seems like fuboTV should have gained more than it did in 2019, especially compared to its gains in 2018. Yet, it hasn’t. fuboTV’s 2019 gains were down compared to its gains in 2018, and that’s not a good indication.
Both YouTube TV and Hulu Live TV are relatively new services and they are already understood to have passed the two million and three million subscriber marks, respectively. Likewise, although Sling TV has been around for much longer than the others, it is still holding on to more than two million subscribers.
Subscriber numbers matter now more than ever
While the company will want subscribers (and the industry) to focus on the fact that its subscriber numbers are up, as is its revenue in general, its Average Revenue Per User (ARPU), and the number of hours streamed, the rate of subscribers switching to the service during a time when there are so many subscribers up for grabs, should be a concern, and PlayStation Vue is a prime example.
PlayStaition Vue came with the backing of Sony, and a dedicated user base. However, escalating costs, and for whatever reason, the fact that it just did not appeal to average subscribers eventually forced the service to close in early 2020.
While there’s no suggestion a closure is in fuboTV’s near future, and especially as it has just announced it is making a lot more money, the bigger the disparity between it and Hulu, Sling and YouTube becomes, the harder it will find operating in this market to be. Especially with other services like Philo continuing to expand rapidly, and at a much cheaper price point.
Regardless of how much it is making right now, fuboTV should have more subscribers than it does. The reason why is something the company will have to address sooner or later.
Source: FaceBank Group