The Tubi interface with some titles that will be made available later.
The Tubi interface with some titles that will be made available later.

Free streaming service launches today

Just when you thought there were enough streaming services to contend with, here's another.

From today, American platform Tubi is now available in Australia. But unlike Disney+, Netflix or Stan, Tubi doesn't want your money because it is free.

Tubi is officially launching in Australia on September 1 (but is accessible now) with 7000 titles in its library, but there is a catch. Actually, two catches.

The first is Tubi is ad-supported, which means you do pay in a sense by watching on average four minutes per hour of streaming. The other catch is Tubi's catalogue is primarily made up of B movies and TV shows you have never heard of.

While its more prominent titles, such as 3:10 to Yuma, The Blair Witch Project, Reservoir Dogs and Stranger Than Fiction, won't be available until its official launch or later, Tubi is already in soft launch right now, which means you can stream a bunch of B movies tonight, perfect with a glass (or four) of wine.

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Something so familiar but not quite right about these movie posters …
Something so familiar but not quite right about these movie posters …

 

There are titles like Titanic II (no, it has nothing to do with James Cameron's three-hour epic), Paranormal Entity (yes, that says Entity, not Activity), Atlantic Rim (because why should the Pacific have all the fun?), Straight Outta Oakland and San Andreas Quake (this one does not star The Rock).

Eddie Murphy does not feature in Going to America (about a young man in LA claiming to be an African prince who becomes an overnight internet sensation) and Mandy the Haunted Doll may bear more than a passing resemblance to Annabelle.

Scrolling through its library and you'll come across an occasional familiar face: Kevin Smith in Comic Book Men, Zendaya in Zapped, Zooey Deschanel in Tin Man and Chadwick Boseman in The Kill Hole.

There are also some classics that aren't just the poor man's version of something else, such as Sirens and Django. We're pretty sure Mischa Barton's 2015 movie American Beach House doesn't belong in this category.

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Tubi will launch across iOS and Android devices as well as on Chromecast, Apple TV, Telstra TV, Amazon Fire TV, PlayStation 4, Xbox and selected smart TVs. Tubi won't require registration, but you do need to register if you want personalised recommendations and your viewing queue to carry across devices.

As for the timing of its Australian launch, two months before the arrival of Disney+, Tubi chief executive Farhad Massoudi told news.com.au that Tubi's value proposition - i.e., it's free - makes it attractive for consumers in a crowded market.

"I think all the subscription companies are impressive, but the idea that an average home is subscribing to Amazon, Disney+ and all these other services is ludicrous," he said.

"It's not going to happen, and the projections some of these guys are putting out, the only way that would be possible is if we all stop saving money and spend it all on streaming services. That's clearly not going to happen.

"I think the average household is going to have a limited number of subscriptions - that number right now is three - and then they're going to complement them with a free service.

"We're offering a dramatically different offer. They have a shallow library of originals, we have a deep library of content.

"Obviously being free is a huge part of our proposition. There's a huge difference between charging a penny and charging nothing. There is no registration, you're one click away from watching a movie."

 

Reservoir Dogs will be available on Tubi in the future.
Reservoir Dogs will be available on Tubi in the future.

Mr Massoudi is also not worried about studios and distribution companies locking away their movies and TV shows for their own streaming services. He said those studios were trying to lock down the "first window" - meaning those first months or years after a title's release - for themselves, and "Tubi isn't about the first window".

Australia is Tubi's first market outside of North America - it launched in the US five years ago and Canada earlier this year.

"Australians are savvy streamers, they're very comfortable with it," Mr Massoudi said. "The distribution channels are prevalent, the internet connection is good, it's culturally close to America, the advertising market is mature and obviously being English-speaking certainly helps. It made sense."

Tubi is launching at a time of intensified activity in the streaming market with the imminent arrival of Disney+ and Apple TV+ adding to the already brimming choices in Australia, including Netflix, Stan, Foxtel Now, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube Premium, DocPlay, iWonder, 10 All Access and Hayu.

Australia is also serviced by iview and ad-supported on-demand platforms SBS On Demand, 10Play, 9Now and 7plus.

Will you give Tubi a go? Join the conversation in the comments below

Share your TV and movies obsessions | @wenleima



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