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Tubi will pack another show from new parent Fox Corp. — the first season of competition show “Lego Masters” — into its free-streaming service later this year, along with a passel of licensed kids’ programming, including content from Lego’s Ninjago franchise, Mattel and cartoon classic “Garfield.” It also will bow a Spanish-language version of the service in the U.S. later in 2020.
And Tubi says it is addressing one of the biggest complaints about free, ad-supported video services among viewers and marketers alike: The company is developing a tool that will let advertisers cap the frequency of their spots on Tubi, regardless of source.
Tubi made the announcements at its first presentation in the Digital Content NewFronts, the IAB-managed marketing pitch-fest that’s happening this year online.
Founded in 2010, Tubi was acquired by Fox Corp. for $440 million in cash through a deal announced in March that officially closed on April 20. The broadcaster said it plans to operate Tubi as an independent unit. “It has been two short months — or two long months in the pandemic world — that we’ve been part of Fox,” said Tubi chief revenue officer Mark Rotblat.
In that time, Tubi added Fox hit “The Masked Singer” as well as “Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back.” The full run of “Lego Masters” Season 1 is slated to come to Tubi this fall. However, Tubi is not going to just shovel anything and everything from Fox Corp. into the free AVOD service.
“We will add content [from Fox] on an ongoing basis where alignment is great,” Rotblat said. “We’re not changing what makes the service great: We have the largest library of content with great discovery… We want to be able to add things in a measured way and watch the performance — so we’re not just dumping a library of things on the service.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Tubi has seen a burst of streaming activity. In April, viewers watched more than 200 million streaming hours of content, up 150% year over year. Tubi claims to have more than 25 million monthly users in the U.S.
“We have over 20,000 titles, so a lot of our value is how we bring this together in a personalized way,” said Rotblat, who joined Tubi in January 2018 from Adobe (via its acquisition of TubeMogul, where he headed ad sales).
On the ad-tech side, Tubi is introducing two new initiatives: What it’s calling Advanced Frequency Management; and direct integrations with four demand side platforms, or DSPs (Trade Desk, Amobee, Adelphic and Adobe Ad Cloud).
Tubi’s Advanced Frequency Management is designed to cap exposure at the campaign level, regardless of supply source, by scanning every piece of creative that comes in from various demand sources to identify and compare the ad composition in order to make a determination for delivery at the household level and prevent double spotting. Rotblat acknowledged that the inability to control frequency and repetition of ads in over-the-top environments — due to the multitude of aggregators that can access any given publisher’s supply of inventory — has been a big source of viewer and ad-buyer frustration.
“It’s recognition of an industry-wide problem that our clients have begged us to solve,” Rotblat said. Tubi will continue to maintain one of the lightest ad loads in the space, targeting 4-6 minutes of ads per hour, he said.
With the direct DSP integrations, Tubi advertisers will have more control over targeting and ad placements they want, coupled with flexibility to execute larger programs and sponsorships through programmatic guarantees, according to Rotblat. “Buyers and advertisers want to get closer to the supply,” he said. Tubi’s DSP integrations currently are live with Trade Desk, Adelphic and Adobe; Amobee will be live in July.
Meanwhile, Tubi en Español is coming later this year as a dedicated Spanish-language destination within the Tubi app in the U.S. It will provide over 800 titles, representing more than 3,000 hours of content. Programming will include shows from TV Azteca, a major Mexican media conglomerate, which was one of the key partners for the Tubi Mexico launch on June 18. Tubi is also available in Canada and Australia.
Here’s a rundown of content coming to Tubi’s U.S. service in 2020:
- “Lego Masters”: Season 1 coming this fall. In the show, two teams Lego enthusiasts go head-to-head with an unlimited supply of Lego bricks. Ultimately, the winners face off for a cash prize, the ultimate Lego trophy and the grand title of Lego Master. Hosted by Will Arnett (who voices Batman in the “Lego Movie” franchise).
- The Lego Group: Select content coming to Tubi Kids starting in July. Included will be programming from brands such as “Ninjago,” the epic story of teenage ninjas battling dark forces; “Lego City,” which chronicles silly and dynamic slices of life in a Lego metropolis; “Lego Friends,” a show about a group of friends to make the world a better place, starting with their hometown; and “Nexo Knights,” following five young knights who must protect their kingdom from the threat of Lava Monsters.
- Mattel: Select content will be coming to Tubi Kids starting in July. Shows include “Barbie Dreamtopia,” in which a young girl learns valuable lessons with Barbie in a magical land; “Monster High,” following four teenage monsters who travel the world and solve mysteries together;
- “Enchantimals,” which tells the story of a group of girls and their animal friends; and “WellieWishers” from American Girl, following five young girls who are out to make the world a kinder, friendlier place.
- Garfield: The famous cat will be coming to Tubi Kids starting in July with 12 specials, under a licensing deal with 9 Story Media Group. Those include “Garfield’s Halloween Adventure,” “Garfield’s Thanksgiving,” “A Garfield Christmas” and “Garfield Goes Hollywood.”
- “Anpanman”: Through a deal with TMS Entertainment, six movies featuring popular Japanese animated superhero Anpanman will make their English- and Spanish-language debut exclusively on Tubi starting in the fall of 2020. Anpanman — whose head is an “anpan,” a popular Japanese pastry — is a champion of justice and flies anywhere to help those in trouble.
- “Henchmen”: From Vertical Entertainment and BRON, the production company behind animated movie “The Willoughbys” and the upcoming “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” family-friendly film “Henchmen” will be available exclusively on Tubi starting in December 2020. The “Henchmen” voice cast includes James Marsden, Rosario Dawson and Craig Robinson.
- “Monster Family”: Animated comedy family licensed from Viva Pictures will be available for the first time free, exclusively on Tubi starting Oct. 1, 2020. “Monster Family,” starring the voice talent of Emily Watson, Jason Isaacs and Nick Frost, follows a family whose Halloween is turned upside down when they are turned into actual monsters.
- “Big Fish & Begonia”: Available on Tubi starting in November 2020. The animated fantastical film from China follows the story of a teenage girl who transforms into a dolphin. Licensed from Shout! Factory.
- “The Magic Brush”: Making its U.S. premiere on Tubi this fall, and for the first time in both English and Spanish, the animated feature is based on a Chinese legend about a boy whose brush makes whatever he paints come alive and garners the attention of a power-hungry general. Licensed from All Rights Entertainment.