Tubi’s Free Streaming Service Is Returning To The UK

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Five years after it promised it’d be back – Tubi, the popular free streaming service, is finally returning to the UK – or at least, advancing its plans to do so with a new hire and a new announcement.

Tubi, the free TV and movie streaming service that offers premium content with advert breaks, is owned by the Fox Corporation.

It withdrew from the UK (and Europe) due to GDPR and its privacy rules in 2018.

Now, with the appointment of David Salmon as Executive Vice President and Managing Director, International, Tubi sets its sights on replicating its North American success in the UK.

What Is Tubi?

Tubi, launched in 2014, has grown to become one of the largest ad-supported streaming services in the US.

Tubi US screenshot homepage
Tubi in the US

Initially, it started as a platform offering free, ad-supported access to thousands of movies and television shows, via streaming devices, smartphone apps and Smart TVs.

Over the years, Tubi has expanded its library, currently boasting over 200,000 titles, including a mix of Hollywood blockbusters, independent films, and classic TV shows.

One of Tubi’s unique selling points is that it offers plenty of premium TV shows and films – those you normally expect to find on paid streaming services – although they’re mostly older shows.

Tubi US screenshot

As of this writing, for example, Tubi’s US library includes TV shows like Spartacus, Gotham, Babylon 5, and Everybody Hates Chris. At times it even includes HBO shows like Westworld.

Tubi operates on an Advertising-Based Video On Demand (AVOD) model. This model allows users to access its extensive content library for free, with the inclusion of adverts.

Unlike subscription-based services (SVOD) like Netflix or Apple TV+, Tubi’s AVOD model removes the financial barrier for viewers, offering an alternative for those unwilling or unable to pay for streaming services.

Of course, paid streaming services like Netflix and Disney+ have also started to dip their toes into the ad-supported TV business, seeing how it can elevate profits – and even Amazon’s Prime Video is planning to add adverts in 2024.

Angry man watching adverts on his TV - dall

Tubi’s Coming Back To The UK

Before its 2018 withdrawal from Europe due to GDPR compliance issues, Tubi had begun expanding its international footprint.

Currently available in the US, Canada, Mexico, and Australia, Tubi has been a top performer in the AVOD space, particularly in North America.

With the appointment of David Salmon, Tubi is focusing on replicating this success in the UK and other international markets.

David Salmon, a veteran in the digital business arena, brings a wealth of experience to Tubi, and is based in the UK.

David Salmon Tubi Executive Vice President and Managing Director, International
David Salmon (Photo: Tubi)

His prior role as the founder and CTO of Endeavor Streaming saw him driving the business from its inception to a market leader.

Salmon’s unique blend of entrepreneurial, technical, and streaming expertise positions him as a key figure in Tubi’s global expansion strategy.

“Tubi has an industry-leading position in the US and we’re looking to replicate that success across international markets,” Salmon said.

“We already have a fast-growing footprint in Canada, Australia and Central America, and I’m excited to join Anjali and the team during this time of growth to advance those efforts while expanding into new markets like the UK and further into Latin America.”

Anjali Sud, CEO of Tubi, underscored the company’s ambition: “Tubi has now led the US market as the #1 AVOD player for 6 months, and we believe our unique product and content strategy is ready for the global stage.”

A Crowded Streaming Market

Unlike the country it left in 2018 – Tubi is entering a crowded ad-supported market in the UK. 

With several leading free streaming services that rely on adverts – such as Amazon’s Freevee, Pluto TV, The Roku Channel, Plex Channels and more – Tubi will have to fight for your remote.

The Roku Channel UK homescreen 800
The Roku Channel

In fact, even the traditional Public broadcasters in the UK can be considered ad-supported streaming services these days (well, they were in that business way before streaming was a thing) – with ITVX, the Channel 4 app, and My5 – which recently announced an upcoming merger with the Pluto TV app.

Also, it’s worth remembering that usually, free services that operate in the US, have very different libraries in the UK.

Pluto TV and The Roku Channel, for example, offer a lot of free premium TV shows and films in the US – while in the UK, a large part of the content consists of titles you’ve never heard of.

But adding more ways to watch TV is never a bad thing – especially when the offer is free.

Tubi did not supply more concrete dates for its upcoming UK expansion – but we’ll keep you updated once we know more.

man watchin streaming tv on tablet

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