Wednesday Notes (fuboTV Edition)

A wall of multi-colored sticky notesFuboTV, which really needs to be capitalized at the start of a sentence, added a few more local affiliates to its lineup, according to a note in Cord Cutters News. It’s got CBS, ABC, and Fox coverage for over two-thirds of US households, which is impressive. Which reminded me of a thought about fuboTV that I hadn’t shared yet.

Despite my minor squabble over billing, I don’t bear fuboTV any ill will. The more choices we viewers have among over-the-top streaming services, the better. However, and I’ve been wrong before, I just don’t see how fuboTV can reach the critical mass of subscribers it needs to survive long-term.

It’s one of the most expensive services, running $45/month for its standard plan. But more telling is its focus – fuboTV wants to appeal to OTT sports fans, but it doesn’t carry the ESPN channels. That’s like a cooking-focused service without Food Network. The Diffusion Group estimated that fuboTV had only about 150,000 subscribers at the end of 2017, and last week it turned out to be about right on its Sling estimate of 2.3 million subs.

I sympathize with fuboTV, which started as an inexpensive, niche soccer-focused OTT service. Some time in 2016, it determined, probably correctly, that it needed to go big or quit. To its credit, fuboTV expanded its lineup well except for those Disney-owned channels. If you really are a sports fan who doesn’t care about ESPN, it’s for you. But are there enough people like you out there?