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The REVisionists: With The Largest Library Of Any Streaming Service, Tubi Has Carved Out Their Own Niche

“Our point of difference is actually pretty straightforward,” says Farhad Massoudi, Tubi’s CEO. “We have the largest continent library—over 20,000 titles and just to be clear, even if a series has 300 episodes, it is counted as just one title. So we have well over 50,000 hours of content, while I think our closest competitor is well below that 10,000. And so if you’re looking for the perfect complement to Netflix and other subscription services, we’re it.” TV[R]EV’s Alan Wolk sat down with Massoudi, Chief Revenue Officer Mark Rotblat and Chief Content Officer Adam Lewinson to discuss what Tubi, which was recently acquired by Fox, has been up to. 

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ALAN: What do you think made Tubi stand out from the dozens of FASTs that launched around the same time? What is it that makes you so attractive to consumers?

FARHAD:  Subscription streaming services focus on a small library of very expensive titles and they drive marketing to those titles. Think of HBO and Game of Thrones. We decided to focus all of our resources on technology. And that was one of the things we made a bet on early on, which made Tubi very unique. We’ve definitely invested heavily in recommendations, content management solutions, ad serving technology, and many other pieces of our infrastructure. For instance, we have a really great personalization engine, because we realized that given the size of our content library, a tool like that is necessary to allow users to dig deep and find the relevant content they are looking for. 

ALAN: As the pandemic continues, brands have become much more interested in buying advertising on the FASTs. What makes you so attractive?

MARK: We are at the actual intersection of TV and digital. We are digitally delivered, but 80% of our viewership happens on the big screen. 

What’s unique is what is happening now–TV is the primary brand building medium for advertisers, but linear TV, which is where brands go to get reach, is in decline, while OTT viewing is increasing.

Now the pain pill is solving the reach problem for brands. And if that’s your goal, the FASTs function a lot like television in that you’re looking at age and gender demos, you’re looking at co-viewing and family audiences. etc. 

But the beauty of being digital is that we are the vitamin pill too, meaning we can be an accelerant to your health beyond just solving the pain of getting you more reach. 

With Tubi and other FASTs, you get targetable addressability, the use of both digital data and advanced data to target specific households, rather than having to execute a national buy–that’s something that’s proven very valuable to brands during the pandemic.

FASTs like Tubi also give you advanced measurement. So maybe I’m doing a broad reach play, but since I’m able to measure everything more accurately, I can also see how this campaign is impacting my brand loyalists. Or if it’s driving website visits. We have the best of both worlds by being that intersection of TV and digital.

ALAN:  How are you addressing some of the challenges the industry is facing in terms of advertising on the FASTs?

MARK: I think for us, the key is how we’ve approached technology. We’ve had our own ad server and analytics for many years, and we’ve recently updated that ad server to add in new functionality, everything from targeting to pod positions to direct integrations with DSPs.  With direct integrations, we’re able to offer supply path optimization, which is something pure play digital advertisers make a big deal out of. For brands it means greater efficiency and greater control. So that’s something that we’re very excited about as it also helps enhance match rates for data and measurement.

In terms of challenges, I’d say the ad repetition is a big one. It happens because of the way inventory is sold on the FASTs, in that it doesn’t come from a single source, but rather, from a range of vendors from direct sales to DSPs to platforms to, on occasion, rights holders. And that makes it very hard to control inventory and manage frequency. To combat that, we’re launching our own Advanced Frequency Management tool, which helps identify ads and the campaigns that they’re running in, independent of where they’re coming from and manage their frequency and repetition.

ALAN:  Looking at your audience, what is your sweet spot? What does the typical Tubi viewer look like and how do you gear your content choices to them?

MARK: First off, they’re a lot younger. The median age for a linear TV viewer is around 56 or even higher. The median age for streaming is 41. Our median age is 34. And that is right in the sweet spot of the demographics many advertisers are hoping to hit. 

When we look a little bit deeper, we over index on multicultural viewers. Our audience members are 72% more likely to be African American, Hispanic, or Asian. We also have heavy co-viewing, something like 58% of our users are in households of three or more people. Digging down even deeper, a large portion of our audience consists of families with children. One surprising factoid is that we over index in the South and the Midwest.

ADAM: The content that our viewers are consuming definitely maps to the demographics that Mark is talking about. An important part of our goal on the content side is that whatever it is that our viewer wants to watch, we want to make sure that we have a very deep well of that type of content. We want them to have literally hundreds of options. In terms of hitting our age demo, we do find that there are some classics from previous generations–we recently added “Laugh-In” and “Dark Shadows”–that still have an audience—but given that our viewers’ median age is 34, their definition of “nostalgia” is a bit different. So for instance, this month we have the “Kill Bill” movies, which is not necessarily nostalgia for me, but for a lot of our viewers, it is.

ALAN: Where do you see yourselves fitting into the new TV ecosystem? 

FARHAD: In terms of where we fit in, even before the current health crisis, I said that the idea of the average consumer subscribing to Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Disney Plus, ESPN Plus, CBS All Access, Showtime, HBO Max, Peacock and other SVOD services is ludicrous. It’s just not going to happen. If you add up the projections for these services over the next five years, it seems like they’re banking on every viewer subscribing to 20 different services! The reality is that consumers are going to subscribe to a handful subscription services for their originals. And then they’re going to complement that with a FAST that gives them a massive amount of content for free. And so we see ourselves as the best compliment to Netflix and other subscription services, because of the depth of our library, our vast distribution, our personalization engine and our price.