Feb 25, 2020 - Economy & Business

Free, ad-supported streaming on the rise as major media companies buy up platforms

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Data: PwC and Digital TV Research; Chart: Axios VisualsA few of the last remaining major ad-supported streaming platforms are reportedly nearing sales to major media companies.

A few of the last remaining major ad-supported streaming platforms are reportedly nearing sales to major media companies.

Why it matters: The acquisitions show how valuable big media companies think ad-supported streaming services could be to their overall streaming strategies, as they continue to also invest in subscription streaming offerings.

Driving the news: Fox is eyeing an acquisition of free-ad supported streaming service Tubi in a deal that could be valued at more than $500 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.

  • The Journal also reports that Comcast's NBCUniversal is "in advanced talks" to acquire streaming-video service Vudu from Walmart.
  • Last year, the Journal also reported that Comcast was in talks to buy ad-supported streaming company Xumo.

Be smart: While Netflix remains the incumbent to beat in the subscription streaming wars, there's not yet a dominant player in the free, ad-supported streaming space, according to previously reported data from Magid Associates.

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Data: Magid; Chart: Axios Visuals

The big picture: Analysts have anticipated that more consolidation would be on the horizon.

  • Viacom bought Pluto TV, a free streaming app, for $340 million last January to compliment CBS' subscription streaming product, CBS All Access.
  • Amazon-owned IMDB launched Freedive — a free, ad-supported streaming video channel featuring hit movies and TV shows — last year.

Go deeper: Free streaming services begin to challenge subscription video

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Investors are wary of ViacomCBS' new streaming strategy

Data: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Shares of the newly-combined ViacomCBS dropped a startling 15% last week, after the company announced plans for a new streaming service during its first earnings report as a combined entity.

Why it matters: The company is now worth far less combined ($17 billion in market capitalization) than the two companies were worth separately (around $30 billion) prior to their merger.

PGA strikes $680 million TV rights deal with NBC, CBS, ESPN

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The PGA Tour has struck a 9-year rights deal with CBS Sports, NBC Sports and ESPN for around $680 million, Variety reports.

Why it matters: The value of distributing professional golf in the U.S. is increasing as more TV networks clamor to hold live sports rights. In the streaming era, live sports are keeping traditional TV alive.

Go deeperArrowMar 10, 2020 - Sports

Free content gives relief to parents juggling kids and work at home

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Media outlets and e-learning companies are opening up access to free kids' content, tools and resources to parents who are struggling to entertain their kids at home while also working remotely.

Why it matters: As schools and offices both shut down because of the coronavirus outbreak, parents are trying to figure out how to do two full-time jobs at once. Access to free content and educational programs can help reduce that burden.