Fox Corp focuses on digital streaming and ad dollars with US$440m Tubi buy

American media company Fox Corporation is selling its minority stake in TV streaming platform Roku. According to several media reports including Wall Street Journal and Variety, Fox had a 5% stake in Roku. On the sale of Fox's ownership stake in Roku, executive chairman and chief executive officer of Fox Corporation, Lachlan Murdoch said Fox was an early investor in Roku and continues to admire the ongoing accomplishments of Roku CEO Anthony Wood and his team. 

Fox will use the proceeds from the Roku sale to finance the US$440 million acquisition of ad-supported streaming platform Tubi. The acquisition is part of Fox's long-term strategic initiatives to broaden and enhance its direct-to-consumer digital reach and engagement. Marketing has reached out to Fox and Roku for additional information on the sale.

With the acquisition,Tubi will bring to Fox an expanded consumer offering with a sizable, younger-skewing and directly connected user base that spends over 160 million hours per month watching content on the service. According to a media statement, Tubi is currently available on more than 25 digital platforms in the United States, and features across film and episodic television programming from content partners, including major studios.

In addition, Tubi will also integrate with and deepen Fox's capabilities in key areas such as digital advertising, direct-to-consumer interfaces and personalisation technology. Similarly, Tubi will be able to leverage Fox's advertising and distribution relationships, as well as its national and local promotional platforms, to further augment the service's growth trajectory.

Once the acquisition is through, Fox aims to continue to run Tubi as an independent service anchored by its consumer offering of licenced entertainment content. Fox will also then evaluate opportunities to expand the Tubi offering in a cost-effective manner by leveraging its expertise in national and local news and sports programming.

Executive chairman and CEO of Fox Corporation, Lachlan Murdoch said Tubi will expand the company’s direct-to-consumer audience and capabilities and will provide its advertising partners with more opportunities to reach audiences at scale. “Importantly, coupled with the combined power of Fox's existing networks, Tubi provides a substantial base from which we will drive long-term growth in the direct-to-consumer arena," he added.

Meanwhile, Tubi founder and CEO Farhad Massoudi, who will continue to head Tubi, said Fox Corporation's relationships with advertisers and distribution partners, combined with the company's dominance in news and sports programming, will help Tubi continue to grow and differentiate itself in the high-growth ad-supported streaming marketplace. “I am proud of what the team has already accomplished here at Tubi and we couldn't be more excited about joining such a fast-moving, entrepreneurial company.  We look forward to working together with Fox to accelerate Tubi's leadership position in the market and bring new competencies to Fox,” he added.

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Fox Corporation was formed after The Walt Disney Company acquired 21st Century Fox in March 2019. Fox was established as a standalone public company shortly after the Disney-21st Century merger. Early this year, Disney reportedly said it is removing the "Fox" name from the 21st Century Fox assets. According to Variety, the 21st Century Fox film studio will now be known as 20th Century Studios, while Fox Searchlight Pictures will be renamed to Searchlight Pictures.

Despite the name change, Variety said the logos will merely be updated rather than "drastically altered". All signature elements, from the monolith to swirling klieg lights and triumphal fanfare, will be kept while the word "Fox" has been removed from the logo marks. Meanwhile, Disney has also replaced the email addresses of Searchlight employees, Variety said, adding that the fox.com domain has now become searchlightpictures.com.

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