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Tubi’s UK launch signals streaming is moving towards a free model

by xyonent
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OPINION: There have been some interesting developments in the video streaming space, so let’s take a closer look at them.

Firstly, it’s clear that video streaming isn’t going away: last week Tubi (tubby, to-bee?), which launched in the US a few years ago, was launched in the UK too.

It’s Fox Corp’s streaming platform, along with Pluto TV (owned by Paramount), Samsung TV Plus and Roku TV Channel, and FAST (Fast Ad-Supported Streaming Television) which offers free access to a larger library than Netflix, with over 20,000 movies and TV episodes.

Again, free To watch all the shows.

This comes after Netflix announced it would eliminate its cheapest ad-free plan, giving subscribers the option to pay less to be shown ads or pay more to avoid them.

Netflix chose this path because its advertising plan has been so successful since its launch (40% of all subscribers are from this demographic), even though it’s simply returning to traditional linear broadcast TV, except now it’s streaming online rather than via an antenna.

Advertising is the future (again)

What’s interesting here is that the video streaming landscape is moving towards ads and free plans. People want to save money and these plans provide a way to do that. It also means that the market is starting to become saturated with these options.

There was an event a few weeks ago. At the summit – Video streaming and its future were discussed in detail by key industry players.

Every Hollywood studio would love to have its own streaming app, but not everyone needs one, especially with so many options when it comes to ad-free and ad-based services.

tube
Tubi

During the pandemic, streaming was seen as something of a silver bullet for Hollywood studios to recover losses caused by cinema closures. The problem with streaming services is that they eat up a lot of capital: Disney lost up to $3 billion on Disney+, Paramount experienced big losses with Paramount+, as did Warner Bros. Discovery has had its ups and downs in recent years (mainly the latter) and its cost-cutting measures have earned the studio a bad reputation among creators.

At the summit, it appeared Warner Bros. Discovery was gearing up to bring the Max app to the UK once its deal with Sky ends at the end of 2025. And I can’t help but think that’s a bad move.

Max from the UK?

With ad-based plans from Netflix and Disney+, the entry of Tubi, and the rise of Samsung TV Plus and LG Channels, it’s clear that the market is charging in. Subscribers no longer seem to care where the content comes from, they just care that they can keep their prices relatively low.

Adding another paid streaming app (or even a few) to the mix seems like too much: Lionsgate+ is struggling, Paramount+ and Peacock (Universal) are partnering with Sky in the UK to boost their profile, and other apps have had to make eye-catching promotions to attract users. However, there is a high dropout rate And it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Warner Bros. owns one of the best Hollywood libraries of classics from every decade, including parts of the MGM library (The Wizard of Oz, for example), the DC Comics lineup, and franchises like The Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, Lethal Weapon, Harry Potter, and Mad Max. And let’s not forget HBO, which set the gold standard in television for decades with watering hole shows like Game of Thrones and The Sopranos.

New episodes on HBO Max this week
Image credit: Trusted Reviews

But despite that cornucopia, the video streaming market doesn’t seem to need any more entrants or competition. There’s enough choice already, and the profit margins don’t seem healthy enough for multiple companies to compete with each other. We’ve heard talk of bundling services to prevent churn, but customers are accustomed to affordable prices, and we all know that bundling doesn’t come cheap.

Streaming services such as Tubi look like the future, having recently overtaken Disney+ in total hours watched in the US, showing the winds of streaming. As the streaming market develops, it is becoming clear that only a few companies will be able to compete, and a service like Max may struggle to make an impact if it enters the UK market.

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