FuboTV hopes to score big with advertisers following a partnership with video ad-serving platform SpotX, announced on Tuesday.
The internet TV service, which focuses on sports, says its inventory is now available to purchase programmatically, a first for the company. Fubo previously made money off its content through subscriptions, but quietly turned on ads this past summer, when the partnership was formed.
Although rivals like Dish Network's Sling TV already made such offerings, Fubo's announcement is significant because its audience mainly watches live sports. Delivering addressable ads for live sports is far more difficult when compared to scheduled broadcasts, Andy Hammond, VP of sales at Fubo, says.
"If you are trying to reach a sports-loving audience, you have [had] to do it with traditional cable," Hammond says. "For us this coming quarter, that is going to be the Olympics, the build up to the Super Bowl, as well as soccer."
Fubo said in October that it has more than 100,000 subscribers who pay at least $40 each month for its service. The company streams games from the NFL, Olympics, FIFA, NHL, NBA, MLB and UFC, among others. It has also partnered with local networks, but has yet to offer ESPN. Collectively, Fubo says it telecast more than 30,000 live sporting events last year.
For those looking for a Super Bowl discount, though, Fubo says it cannot monetize that ad inventory due to its agreement with NBC.
Hammond says Fubo built its live ad insertion tech in-house and then integrated it with SpotX, which connects Fubo to a large swath of advertisers. Fubo first rolled out its offering to desktop, but has since opened up to mobile apps, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire and Android.
Both Fubo and SpotX were tight-lipped when it came to financials, but shared that some 150 national brands purchased Fubo's ad inventory programmatically during the fourth quarter last year, more than double from the previous quarter.
In 2017, 93 percent of all OTT media transacted on SpotX was completed via private marketplaces and, as of December 2017, almost 30 percent of the company's total sales occurred via set-top boxes or smart TV. SpotX did not share more specific figures.
Fubo is just one of many internet-delivered TV services hoping to woo cord-cutting millennials. Last September, it aired its first national campaign during NFL games.
"As live OTT events become more popular with viewers in 2018, the ability to seamlessly deliver ads via dynamic ad insertion with the same addressability, measurement and monitoring as buyers enjoy in traditional digital video environments will be more crucial," says Ryan Kenney, VP of platform services at SpotX.