Is This Amazon Deal a Game Changer for FuboTV?

Earlier this week, FuboTV expanded its sports-streaming media reach to a massive platform. The Fubo Sports Network is now available in the Freevee sections of Amazon Prime, reaching over 155 million devices across various media-streaming hardware platforms.

Unfortunately, I’m not convinced that this agreement will have a significant impact on FuboTV or Amazon. Here’s why.

The numbers game

Fubo Sports Network is already accessible on several popular platforms, including the Roku Channel, the Vizio smart TV platform, and Fox Corporation’s Tubi service. Vizio boasts more than 15 million active users, while Tubi brings at least 51 million accounts. Roku, the largest platform, has 65.4 million active users.

Although Freevee is a larger platform compared to Fubo Sports Network’s previous partners combined, Amazon’s service still faces challenges.

Clumsy is as clumsy does

The story doesn’t end there. Finding and using the Freevee service on Amazon is not a straightforward process. There is no convenient link on the Amazon Prime Video landing page to access the new FuboTV content.

In my experience, I had to locate “sports” in Prime Video’s list of content categories and then scroll down to find the “sports stations – on now” list. From there, I had to navigate a few more pages to find the correct channel.

This cumbersome process was the same whether I used a web browser, mobile device, or Amazon Fire TV stick. Searching for “Fubo” or the channel name yielded no results. Once I found the channel, there was no option to add it to a “watch later” list or collection of favorite channels. Additionally, it didn’t appear in the “continue watching” sections of Prime Video and Freevee after leaving it on for a couple of hours.

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Alternatively, I could skip the Prime Video challenge and go directly to Fubo TV. The channel is available for free, even without a premium FuboTV subscription. In this format, the paid ads on the Prime Video version of Fubo Sports Network are replaced by marketing spots for the ad-supported streaming service itself.

Does this deal help either FuboTV or Amazon?

I would’ve loved to be a fly on the wall during the negotiation of this deal. It seems like someone dropped the ball, and I’m unsure which side is to blame.

Amazon doesn’t come across as a helpful partner here. FuboTV might have expected meaningful marketing assistance from its larger media-streaming partner, along with a prominent link to the new content on Prime Video’s landing page. At the very least, Prime Video’s search function should facilitate the discovery of the channel.

I don’t anticipate this deal making a significant impact for FuboTV. To me, it seems like a missed opportunity. Having millions of new viewers on the Amazon platform is meaningless if they can’t easily find the new addition.

On the other hand, Amazon could have put in more effort to benefit from this partnership. The rebranding of IMDb TV to Freevee aimed to capture the attention of more Amazon Prime subscribers. FuboTV is a reputable name in sports broadcasting, and a more ambitious co-branding project could have increased Freevee’s visibility.

As a long-time Amazon shareholder, I’m disappointed by the lackluster effort, but not entirely surprised. While Amazon excels at promoting its own products and services, it is less likely to provide robust marketing support for other companies. That’s just how Amazon operates, for better or for worse.

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Perhaps FuboTV could have paid a higher distribution fee to secure more substantial marketing assistance, or maybe that option wasn’t available. We may never know. In any case, this fumbled exchange neither benefits nor harms investors in Amazon or FuboTV.

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