Has Tubi Found a Way to Succeed at Ad-Supported Streaming Video?

On one hand, it has ads; on the other hand, it's free

Tubi logo
Where will ad-supported streamers go from here?

Not long ago, there was one big question that popped up when looking for a movie or television series across streaming services, which is to say: is this on anything that I subscribe to? In the last year or so, that question has become a little more complicated with the addition of ad-supported streaming services into the mix. The acronym is FAST, for “free ad-supported streaming television,” and it encompasses services like Tubi and The Roku Channel.

The latter has made a name for itself via original programming like Weird and The Spiderwick Chronicles. It’s the former that might be in the position to dominate the FAST space, however — or, at least, that’s the big takeaway from Julia Alexander’s analysis of the service for Puck.

Alexander points to Tubi doing a few big things to appeal to Gen Z, including partnering with Mr. Beast on a dedicated channel. When cultivating an audience that often watches several screens at once, there are ways to lean in to that approach. “The dual screen experience (or multi-screen experience as anyone with teenagers will tell you) has redefined the value proposition of content on a fundamental level,” Alexander writes.

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Later in the analysis, Alexander also observes that Tubi has “[targeted] meaningful communities and fandoms (like lovers of Black horror or Latinx comedies)” — in other words, something that gives the service just enough of an identity to make it feel worth the time of the people tuning in. Her article cites Nielsen numbers to the effect that Tubi has a larger share of U.S. viewers than Max or Peacock as of February — yet another sign pointing to the growth of the FAST space.

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