Tubi is heading to Mexico in 2020: 'People want free TV'

TV Azteca's MasterChef Mexico will be available on Tubi in Mexico

Tubi is planning to launch its app in Mexico later this year as the streaming service plots global expansion.

This is Tubi’s first entry into a non-English speaking territory. It operates in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and plans to move into the UK later this year.

Tubi, and ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) streaming service, positions itself as a free version of Netflix.

“We have an ongoing conversation with our viewers, and… they absolutely want Netflix,” said Tubi chief content officer Adam Lewinson. “They also want free, which is why essentially Tubi is the free Netflix.”

Netflix has found success buying or producing local-language content as it eyes growth in foreign markets. But Netflix is a subscription service, so Lewinson said Tubi, as an AVOD that doesn't produce orginals, can’t simply follow its growth plan.

“[Expansion] is a combination of providing content that’s going to be personalized and speak to each territory, paired with an ability to monetize at a high level,” said Lewinson. “Some countries, from an advertising perspective, are more mature than others.”

Tubi is expanding into Mexico in partnership with Spanish-language television programmer TV Azteca, which will support ad sales in the region, promote Tubi across its platforms and provide many of its titles to the streaming service.

Those local relationships look different market-by-market. In Canada, media and telecommunications firm Rogers represents Tubi's ad inventory, but it isn't a content partner. In Australia, Tubi manage its ad inventory on its own.

TV-quality content generally costs less outside of the US than it does domestically. Lewinson said that Tubi’s approach to content acquisition has so far been “very compatible with what the content owners are looking for” in Mexico.

Tubi, which last June said it has 20 million monthly active users, doesn’t yet have offices in countries outside the US where its service is available. It sells ads both directly and programmatically.

Tubi has also partnered with Hisense to make its app available on the TV maker’s connected TV platform.

The Tubi app in Mexico will be completely in Spanish. Lewinson said it will include local content and dubbed English-language content, such as Hollywood films.

Tubi has plans to make its way to the UK at some point this year despite coming up against Europe’s GDPR.

“We are working on bringing our app into compliance with GDPR and hoping to relaunch in EU countries soon,” the company’s website says.

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