Tubi outperformed Disney+, Peacock, and Max last month

Tubi topped Disney+ for viewers in May, indicating (again) that people still like watching TV in traditional modes

Tubi outperformed Disney+, Peacock, and Max last month
Tubi Image: Tubi

It has become increasingly obvious that the people yearn for regular freakin’ television. People like watching long-running mid-budget procedural shows. People like sitcoms in the classic style like Young Sheldon and Ghosts and Abbott Elementary. People like “watercooler” shows that release once a week and inspire conversation. And in an era where there are so many streaming services that are all steadily increasing prices, people really like to watch stuff that’s free, and they’re willing to watch a few commercials for that privilege. All this would explain why Tubi, a FAST channel (free, ad-supported streaming television) is among the top-performing streaming services right now.

According to The Los Angeles Times, Tubi had its most-watched month ever in May with an average of one million viewers. That’s more than Disney+ had (969,000) and a lot more than Peacock, Max, and Paramount+. Tubi also bested FAST competitors Roku Channel and Pluto TV; per the LA Times, “YouTube is the only free ad-supported streaming platform with more viewers than Tubi.”

Tubi benefits from having a deep and extensive library of 250,000 shows and movies. The platform has livestreaming channels, but the LA Times reports that “90% of its viewing is on demand,” so admittedly, the binge model still has juice. But the kinds of things Tubi’s young audience (apparently the median age is 39, “the youngest in television”) watches does point back to traditional television. Viewers are reportedly enjoying Tubi’s selection of classic and vintage network television series, as well as random one-season wonders that never found footing while airing. One such series from the streamer’s “Canceled Too Soon” collection is Believe, co-created by Alfonso Cuarón: the NBC show is described as a “Tubi hit” and chief content officer Adam Lewinson told the outlet that “If things stay on its current course, we believe it’s going to get far more viewers on Tubi than it ever got in its first window on broadcast.”

For true TV lovers, it’s gratifying that classic television in the traditional style is still so beloved. And there are some lukewarm signs that the industry is paying attention to what works (hint: it’s what was already working pre-streaming). NBC greenlit a Suits spin-off. Netflix is working on its first medical procedural. Tubi is making an original series with Gilmore Girl Lauren Graham. Many of streaming’s biggest ratings successes of late have been network shows with lots of episodes that aired on broadcast first. If that’s what brings people to Tubi, the entertainment industry should consider that that’s what they should be making.

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