On Tuesday, Comcast bought a crutch for its TV advertising business in the form of Xumo, a free ad-supported streaming service.
Sources told CNBC that Comcast paid $100 million for Xumo, which has about 10 million monthly active users. That’s less than the $340 million that Viacom (now ViacomCBS) spent on Pluto TV last year, though Pluto already had 12 million users at that point and is now used by more than 22 million people every month. The Wall Street Journal also reported last week that Fox is in talks to spend upwards of $500 million on Tubi, another free streaming service with more than 25 million users.
So what’s behind the latest free streaming TV acquisition? According to CNBC, Comcast was interested in the way Xumo works with TV makers to preload its service onto their sets, usually with the TV maker’s own branding attached. If you’ve bought a television from LG, Vizio, or Panasonic lately and have noticed them hawking free TV channels, that’s the work of Xumo….