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  • Writer's pictureAuthor T.D. McLaughlin Talks

What's Next For Tubi TV

In a world filled with subscription-based streaming services, there is one fee free based platform that stands out. That platform is Tubi TV. Launched on April 1, 2014, Tubi TV is poised to celebrate its tenth anniversary in just a few weeks, boasting an estimated seventy-four million users. Even though Tubi TV is owned by FOX Corp (yes the same FOX News Corp that churns out the Republican propaganda machine FOX News), Tubi TV has emerged as a platform that is flocked to by the Black community. Tubi TV offers a diverse array of content ranging from scripted shows to independent Black films.

Despite lacking a subscription model, Tubi TV has carved out a lucrative niche in the streaming market by capitalizing on digital advertising. Last year alone, Tubi TV reportedly raked in a staggering seven hundred million dollars in ad revenue (estimated). However, amidst its success, questions loom regarding Tubi TV’s future direction.

Tubi TV’s appeal to the Black community has been a significant factor in its growth. With a catalogue featuring Black stories, Black directors, and Black actors, the platform has tapped into a market often overlooked by mainstream entertainment. This strategic move has not only garnered a loyal following but also challenged the outdated notion that Black Content, Black Lead Characters and Black Directors don’t sell. This notion is a notion from the nineteen thirties, forties and fifties, where black folks in a lot of cases could not afford a television set or there may not have been a theatre for black people to attend in segregated, Jim Crow America. Content and representation have come along way since those times and that old way of thinking should be taking out back and done a way with. Though we have seen Black success stories like Tyler Perry, Ryan Coogler (Black Panther) and Jordan Peele, history is still littered with cautionary tales due to the preconceived notions that black content cannot be the cornerstone of an entertainment platform. Networks like UPN and the WB, which were once centered around black cast, black writers, producers and directors, struggled to maintain relevance in a rapidly evolving media landscape due to lack of commitment, resources and the old guards thought about black talent and black consumers . However, Tubi TV is backed by FOX Corp, a media conglomerate with vast financial and industry reach and resources.

The question remains: Is Tubi TV committed for the long haul, or is it merely a pawn in a larger corporate strategy? Skeptics would argue that FOX corp may view Tubi TV as a short-term investment, aiming to boost viewership, revenues and profits before a potential sale to a another corporate entity who may come in with an agenda of diversifying away from the present model. But there is a chance that FOX corp could be playing the long game and looking to keep Tubi TV due to the astounding growth in both revenues and memberships. At this time Tubi TV is most likely one of the Crown Jewels of the Fox Corp portfolio and the investment in Tubi TV could be the same as FOX network at the beginning.

The FOX network at one time was seen as an upstart, renegade network that could not compete with the big three of ABC, CBS and NBC. But the upstart lead by founder Rupert Murdoch who forced his way to the table, took a seat and turned the FOX network into one of the great entertainment platforms of all time. Murdoch who is now well into his nineties and no longer runs the day to day of the company has turned things over to the second generation (the real life version of the HBO hit show Succession). As of now none of the second generation has spoken openly about wether they view Tubi TV as a profit center or paradigm shift. That brings me to the bridge between generations one and two. FOX wanted to partner with Viacom back in the late nineties, early two thousands to save UPN but Viacom refused. So could the second generation be trying to right the sins of the father by going all in on Tubi TV to connect FOX corp with black audiences who other wise they don’t seem to produce content for?

In the digital world were consumers have the power to decide day by day and minute by minute what they wish to consume, will FOX corp stay the course with Tubi TV and build it to rival NETFLIX or will FOX corp sell Tubi TV to the highest bidder. Only time will tell but we will keep watch to see which way the prevailing winds will blow.

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