With rapid growth predicted for the ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) business over the next few years, NBCUniversal and Fox Corp are reportedly in separate talks to buy streaming services with footholds in the field.
According to reports on Friday (21) in the Wall Street Journal, Comcast Corp’s NBCUniversal is in “advanced talks” to acquire the Vudu streaming service from retail giant Walmart and Fox (the broadcast TV company remaining after Disney’s buy of most of 21st Century Fox’s assets) is interested in buying AVOD service Tubi in a deal that could be valued at $500m.
None of the companies concerned had commented on the reports at press time.
Walmart, which acquired Vudu in 2010 for $100m, was reported last year to be contemplating selling the service, which lets consumers buy and stream individual films and TV shows without paying a subscription fee and also offers an ad-supported service making around 10,000 titles available for free.
Tubi claims to be the world’s largest AVOD service, offering more than 20,000 films and TV shows from sources including Warner Bros, Paramount and Lionsgate. Currently available in the US, Canada, and Australia, the service recently said it recorded total view time growth of 160% last year and promised to increase content spending to a nine-figure dollar sum in 2020.
NBCU is set to give its own ad-supported and subscription streaming service Peacock a national US launch in July. And AVOD service Pluto TV is expected to play a part in the streaming plans of ViacomCBS, which bought the service just over a year ago for $340m.
In a recent report on expected growth in the AVOD market, Guy Bisson, director at research company Ampere Analysis, said: “AVOD is coming, and it’s going to make its mark on the video on demand landscape rapidly. AVOD services are treading a well-trodden path with an early reliance on older content, but as their market position grows, we can expect them to begin acquiring newer content and even moving into original production activity as they battle for eyeballs in an increasingly crowded market.”