fuboTV (FUBO -3.63%), the sports-centric streaming content provider, reported impressive first-quarter earnings last week that send its shares soaring 17% immediately after. The stock has since given up some of those gains but is still trading higher than it did pre-earnings.

The quarter's highlight was the surprising increase in subscribers, which more than doubled from the previous year. Normally, fuboTV sheds some subscribers from the fourth quarter to the first quarter. Not this time. 

A man in a suit behind a display of arrows pointing upward.

fuboTV has reached more than 590,000 subscribers. Image source: Getty Images.

Subscriber growth when it wasn't expected

For the first time in its history, fuboTV actually gained subscribers sequentially from the fourth quarter to the first quarter. This is a clear sign that the secular tailwind coming from people cutting the cord on cable and switching to streaming content outweighed the seasonal slowdown in subscriber additions that coincides with the end of the National Football League season.

In all, fuboTV reported 590,430 subscribers at the end of the first quarter, which was up 103% from the prior year and 8% from the fourth quarter. Interestingly, management had guided investors to expect 525,000 subscribers at the midpoint for the first quarter. The actual figure turned out to be substantially higher than expected.

Of course, with more subscribers comes more revenue, and fuboTV reported revenue of $119.7 million in the quarter. Analysts on Wall Street were expecting $103.8 million, which was already higher than what management was guiding for. Instead, the actual results handily beat the already optimistic analyst estimates by 15%.

It's no surprise, then, that the outperformance led management to increase subscriber and revenue guidance for the rest of 2021: 

We are very optimistic for fuboTV's future following our record subscriber and advertising growth in the first quarter. As a result, we are increasing our guidance for full-year 2021 revenue to $520 [million to] $530 million, the midpoint of which represents an increase of 101% year over year, up from an increase of 78% in our prior guidance. Similarly, we are increasing our end-of-year subscriber's guidance to 830,000-850,000, up 53% year over year at the midpoint, compared to an increase of 40% in our prior guidance. This subscriber outlook implies full-year 2021 net additions of at least 282,000, 22% higher than our full-year 2020 net additions of 232,000.

What this could mean for investors 

The good news for shareholders is that this growth trend appears to be sustainable. Maybe not at the elevated levels of recent time, but growing fast nonetheless. Folks have shown a clear preference for streaming their content versus buying it through cable or satellite. It's showing up in results from Netflix, Walt Disney, and fuboTV.

What's more, fuboTV is gaining market share along with the growing market. According to Nielson Media Research, it grew by 105% in the past 12 months versus 24% growth in the Virtual Multichannel Programming Distributors (vMVPD) market. That means fuboTV is growing more than four times faster than the overall sector it's operating in.

Investors looking for a turbocharged growth stock will do well by putting fuboTV on their watch lists.