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Fox weighs original programs for free streamer Tubi

Executives at Fox Corporation are mulling plans to offer original programs via the company’s free, ad-supported streaming TV service Tubi, according to a report.

In an article published by Bloomberg, unnamed sources claimed that Fox was tossing around the idea of spending as much a $4 million per episode on new programs for the streaming service.

Fox acquired Tubi last year for $440 million. It wasted no time integrating some of its broadcast and local news content into Tubi. In December, a Fox executive said Tubi’s advertising revenue was on pace to exceed that of its traditional broadcast networks.

“The restrictions of a linear schedule is not what consumers want,” Steve Tomsic, Fox’s chief financial executive, said at a conference.

But consumers do want fresh content, and Tomsic said Tubi was exploring ways to offer “cheap and cheerful” shows that at the same time would be “cost-effective” for the company to produce.

That would be a departure from strategies at other content powerhouses, including ViacomCBS, AT&T and Comcast, where big budgets are expended for original series that live on premium streaming services that compete with ad-supported ones like Tubi.

That said, Tubi has existed for several years — and in its current form — by offering streamers re-runs of classic sitcoms, dramas and low-budget movies, nearly all of which are cheaply licensed from third party distributors. Tubi never set the production bar very high, yet it managed to grab 33 million active streamers by the end of last year, putting it on par with similar ad-supported streaming services like ViacomCBS’ Pluto TV and a variant of Comcast’s Peacock.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is an award-winning journalist with more than 10 years of experience covering the business of television and radio broadcasting, streaming services and the overall media industry. In addition to his work as publisher of The Desk, Matthew contributes regularly to StreamTV Insider and KnowTechie, and has worked for several well-known news organizations, including Thomson Reuters, McNaughton Newspapers, Grasswire, Comstock's magazine, KTXL-TV and KGO-TV. Matthew is a member of IRE, a trade organization for investigative reporters and editors, and is based in Northern California.

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