LOS ANGELES: FuboTV, a startup that operates an Internet soccer subscription-video service, announced that it has raised US$15mil (RM61.41mil) in Series B funding led by 21st Century Fox and UK satellite TV operator Sky.
Sky and 21st Century Fox each invested US$6mil (RM24.69mil) in the Series B round, which also includes investments from DCM Ventures, Luminari Capital, LionTree Partners, Edgar Bronfman Jr, managing partner at Accretive and former CEO of Warner Music Group, ICM Parnters' Chris Silbermann and former NBA commissioner David Stern.
New York-based FuboTV provides subscribers with a US$10 (RM41)-per-month over-the-top bundle of sports TV channels, featuring hundreds of live soccer matches, club videos, series, documentaries and other content in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
Officially launched in January 2015, FuboTV has signed up more than 40,000 US subscribers to date with a concentration among millennial males who are not traditional pay-TV customers.
FuboTV said it will use the new funding to expand its lineup of TV networks and build new features to enhance the viewing experience.
With the funding, both Sky and 21st Century Fox will take board seats at FuboTV. Neither 21st Century Fox nor Sky is currently licensing content to FuboTV, but both companies intend to work closely with FuboTV as it continues to grow.
"We are very impressed by the FuboTV management team and the great progress they have made in a very short time," said Ravi Ahuja, executive VP of business operations and development for Fox Networks Group. "Ultimately, we believe streaming services like FuboTV will drive further innovation and be a win-win for consumers and programmers."
Added Emma Lloyd, Sky's director of corporate development and strategic investments: "We're really excited to be investing in FuboTV. This investment will provide Sky with real insight and we look forward to working with the FuboTV team as they continue to explore new opportunities for growth."
The FuboTV service has distribution deals with TV programmers that hold US rights to major worldwide sporting events, including soccer matches from more than half of the leading international soccer leagues and tournaments. Those include Univision Networks, BeIn Sports, GolTV and Benfica TV, as well as the recently announced addition of entertainment networks targeting millennials such as El Rey Network, Pivot and Revolt.
Prior to FuboTV, the company founders – CEO David Gandler, CTO Sung Ho Choi and CMO Alberto Horihuela – were executives at OTT video company DramaFever, which has been acquired by Warner Bros.
"The support from two of the most prominent media companies in the world strongly positions FuboTV to meet the demands of the quickly evolving sports rights ecosystem," Gandler said in a statement. "Investment from 21st Century Fox, Sky and the prominent individuals and organisations part of this Series B round demonstrates our potential to become leaders among linear OTT services."
FuboTV closed a US$4mil (RM16.37mil) Series A round in August 2015, led by DCM Ventures with participation from I2BF Digital, LionTree Partners, Luminari Capital and Univision Communications, as well as seed investments from Anthony Vinciquerra, former CEO of Fox Networks Group, and Blake Krikorian, co-founder of Sling Media.
The FuboTV service is available on the web, Apple TV, Roku, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Apple iPad and iPhone, Android phones and tablets, and Amazon's Kindle Fire. — Reuters
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