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Fubo partners with Super Hi-Fi for AI-powered “radio” streams

The streaming cable replacement has launched 10 curated music stations.

The streaming cable replacement has launched 10 curated music stations.

Several AI-powered music streams have launched on television service Fubo under the "Fubo Radio" brand. (Courtesy image)
Several AI-powered music streams have launched on television service Fubo under the “Fubo Radio” brand. (Courtesy image)

Streaming cable replacement Fubo is known for its robust line-up of live sports channels. Now, the company is breaking into the streaming radio space.

On Tuesday, Fubo formally unveiled a new feature called “Fubo Radio,” which offers a curated selection of genre-based streaming music channels to subscribers of its live TV service.

Fubo partnered with Super Hi-Fi to build several music streams powered by artificial intelligence that span several formats, including pop, country, hip-hop, 90s alternative and easy listening.

The 10 Fubo Radio channels launched on Tuesday are being offered through Fubo Pro, the company’s base package of live entertainment, news and sports channels. Fubo characterized the music streams as “FAST channels,” using the acronym for “free, ad-supported streaming television,” strongly suggesting the channels will include commercial breaks.

“Fubo customers ‘Come for the Sports and Stay for the Entertainment,’ which is why bolstering our sports-first content offering with entertainment is always a priority,” David Gandler, Fubo’s CEO, said in a statement, tapping into a slogan used by the company to market its service. “he addition of FAST channel radio stations, Fubo Radio, to our programming lineup diversifies our entertainment choices and redefines what it means to be a cable TV replacement for the entire family.”

Fubo said its radio streams were the “first radio experience created from the ground-up for an [Internet-based streaming TV] service.” While Fubo may have been the first streaming TV to build its own music product, others services like Philo, Plex, The Roku Channel, Comcast’s Xumo Play and Paramount Global’s Pluto TV have increasingly launched music streams in partnership with other firms like Dash Radio, iHeart Radio, Xite and Vevo to bring audio-based content to streaming TV viewers.

Still, Fubo Radio is unique in that the company has branded audio streams offered through its service and forged a partnership with another tech firm to develop its own product, rather than relying on simulcasts of streaming radio stations (as Xumo Play and The Roku Channel do with iHeart) or music video channels programmed by someone else.

In a press release that accompanied Tuesday’s announcement, Fubo cited at least two studies that showed streamers were increasingly using smart TV devices beyond watching live or recorded video. To that end, Fubo affirmed a study by radio-friendly Edison Research that claims audio-only listening on smart TVs increased 30 percent this year (though an Edison Research note published in October reveals music channels on television sets accounted for just 3 percent of overall audio consumption in its latest survey).

“The soundbar is quickly becoming the new home stereo and now, with Fubo Radio, subscribers can enjoy the service in a fresh new way that brings great music into the home,” Zack Zalon, the CEO of Super Hi-Fi, said on Tuesday. “These high-impact radio stations will help bring meaningful value to Fubo subscribers. We are incredibly proud to support Fubo in bringing this first-of-its-kind service to the market.”

Fubo Radio continues a trend at Fubo of delivering branded content streams across platforms, and partnering with third parties for similar efforts. In 2019, the company launched Fubo Sports Network, which is available within the Fubo TV app and on free, ad-supported streaming platforms like Xumo Play and Pluto TV. Earlier this year, Fubo partnered with Ryan Reynolds and his content studio, Maximum Effort, to launch a new free comedy stream called Maximum Effort Channel.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).