If you've been a fuboTV (FUBO -4.84%) shareholder over the past few months, it probably feels like being on the losing end of a game that's turned into a rout. One of last year's best-performing IPOs -- a six-bagger at its peak over the holidays -- has surrendered 74% of its peak value as of Monday's close.
The sports-first live-TV streaming service is in the market's doghouse. It will have a chance to earn its way out of the parlor of pessimism this week if it's able to deliver an impressive financial update. FuboTV reports its first-quarter results after Tuesday's market close.
Calling an audible
There is a lot to like when it comes to fuboTV despite its cratering stock price. As a virtual multichannel video programming distributor -- or vMVPD -- fuboTV is a high-tech version of the cable and satellite television services that cord cutters are leaving behind. Major channels stream in real time without the clunky hardware and annual contracts that make folks despite linear television.
The platforms aren't cheap, as fuboTV and its peers start at roughly $65 a month. In exchange for the stiff monthly charge, fuboTV subscribers get roughly 115 channels, including more than three dozen sports-specific in accounts that can be shared with three family members at the same time. It works.
FuboTV isn't the top dog here. YouTube TV and Hulu+ Live TV are among the big fish in this niche with roughly 12 million combined subscribers. The reason fuboTV stands out is that it's growing fast -- revenue is expected to roughly double in the quarter that it's about to announce -- and its engagement levels and the ad revenue it's generating on top of its subscription fees is off the charts.
There were 547,880 paid subscribers on fuboTV's books by the end of 2020, 73% more than it had when the year began. Revenue is growing even faster, as average revenue per user keeps climbing on the strength of improving ad revenue and higher monthly rates.
Revenue growth is actually accelerating since its IPO last fall. The top line rose 71% and then 98% in its first two quarterly reports as a public company. FuboTV's guidance calls for 98% to 102% in revenue growth in Tuesday afternoon's report. The first quarter is a seasonally weak period. We could see a sequential dip in subscribers, but the year-over-year growth should roughly double.
FuboTV's full-year guidance in early March -- worth noting as we compare notes with any revisions that come up this week -- calls for 760,000 to 770,000 subscribers by year's end. This is 39% to 41% more than it was serving at the end of December, but it's forecasting 76% to 80% in revenue growth.
Some of fuboTV's strengths are its engagement -- the average subscriber streams roughly four hours a day -- and its ability to monetize its captive audience. Ad revenue per user is up to $8.47 a month, roughly tripling over the past two years.
This is a cutthroat business, but drawing advertisers to its sports-centric subscriber base is helping it stand out from the competition. Things should get even better later this year as recent acquisitions will help it launch a fantasy sports platform this summer as well as an online sportsbook by the end of the year.
Investors may have their reasons for bailing on fuboTV in recent months. Now it gets a chance to woo them back with a strong report. It has a story to tell, and now it will have the perfect opportunity to tell it again with new details at at time when even a whiff of good news can send it springing back to life. It's not easy competing against media stocks and tech giants for a seat on the living room sofa, but fuboTV's fundamentals have been stronger than its share price action since peaking on Dec. 22 of last year. It's been a rout, but there's still time for a comeback win.