Why fuboTV’s Growth Could Slow Soon

Stocks to sell

Although fuboTV (NYSE:FUBO) stock continues to post very impressive year-over-year user and revenue growth numbers, its sequential sales growth was not very spectacular.

A picture of a FuboTV (FUBO) logo on a smart phone against a computer keyboard.

Source: Lori Butcher/ShutterStock.com

Additionally, the company’s losses continue to widen, and I still believe that its growth is likely to begin to decelerate sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, FUBO stock remains fairly expensive.

Also worth noting is that its overall value for the vast majority of users continues to be questionable.

Analyzing fuboTV’s Growth and Losses

In Q2, fuboTV’s top line soared nearly 200% from last year to almost $131 million, while its subscriber base jumped 138% to nearly 682,000. Finally, its ad revenue climbed over 280% to $16.5 million and its average revenue per user per month rose 30% to $71.43.

Some of the company’s sequential increases, i.e., the extent to which its results improved in Q2 versus Q1, did not seem nearly as impressive, however.

Specifically, its total Q2 revenue rose 9.3%, or $12 million, versus Q1 to $130.9 million. The net paying subscriber total increased by 91,300, or 15.5% sequentially. Finally, fuboTV’s ad revenue rose 31%, or $3.9 million sequentially, to $16.5 million.

Although it’s important to account for seasonal factors, in my opinion, sequential growth can be an important indicator of a company’s recent growth trends.

Meanwhile, fuboTV’s Q2 net loss surged 29% versus the same period a year earlier. as its operating expenses soared an incredible 90% from last year to nearly $131 million. What’s more, its EBITDA loss, excluding certain items, widened 13% to $94.9 million.

The company’s Q2 sales and marketing costs, incredibly, came close to tripling from last year, climbing from about $7.6 million to about $21.5 million. On an encouraging note, its sales and marketing costs did drop slightly versus Q1, and its sales and marketing costs per new subscriber fell sharply to about $235, down from $515 in Q1.

Still, considering that Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) in Q4 of 2012 spent $308 per new subscriber on both market costs and content, FuboTV’s customer acquisition costs remain very high.

Growth Looks Likely to Decelerate Soon

Asked on fuboTV’s Q2 earnings call “what drove engagement” in Q2, CEO David Gandler mentioned only one sports league that the TV service had streamed. That was CONMEBOL, the South American soccer league.

Yet in recent years soccer has remained a relatively niche spectator sport among Americans, generally trailing many other sports in the country. (FuboTV only streams a limited number of channels in two other countries: Canada and Spain).

Based on the CEO’s answer, I think that it’s quite possible that a large portion of fuboTV’s growth has come from the relatively small number of die-hard soccer fans in the U.S. With the company slated to stream soccer’s World Cup in 2022, it could get another meaningful subscriber boost next year.

But the number of people in the U.S. willing to choose a main TV service based on its soccer coverage is likely relatively limited, potentially putting a low ceiling on FUBO stock’s growth and leaving it positioned for a growth deceleration soon.

In the current quarter, fuboTV is slated to start rolling out NFL games. It will be interesting to see if the company’s subscriber growth accelerates or decelerates in the months ahead. If a meaningful deceleration occurs, I think there’s a good chance that fuboTV’s recent strong growth was a short-lived surge driven by die-hard soccer fans.

A Questionable Value Proposition

In the past, I’ve questioned whether the sports betting features that fuboTV plans to roll out will be a real differentiator for it versus the current pay-TV services. I reasoned that betting on sports with separate apps would not be that different from betting on sports through fuboTV.

Increasing my conviction in that theory, the Motley Fool recently reported that Fubo’s gambling features “will likely require a second screen, on either a mobile app or laptop, as many streaming devices don’t allow direct gambling apps.” So apparently, in many cases, gambling with Fubo will not even be more convenient than using a separate app to do so.

And, as I’ve noted in the past, Fubo is not significantly cheaper than pay-TV services, making its utility questionable. FuboTV’s management contends that consumers are inconvenienced by the high number of internet TV services. But as a fairly non-technical cord cutter who subscribes to several such services, I believe that, at least with Roku (NASDAQ:ROKU), using multiple internet TV services is not at all problematic or difficult.

Valuation and the Bottom Line on FUBO Stock

FUBO stock trades at nearly 7x Fubo’s trailing sales, according to Yahoo Finance. Conversely, Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR), a profitable cable provider, trades at only 3.3x its trailing sales and satellite TV operator DISH Network (NASDAQ:DISH), which is also profitable, trades at 1.5x its trailing sales.

FuboTV’s sequential growth is not as impressive as its year-over-over increases, suggesting that the company’s growth could be slowing. The importance of soccer to Fubo’s gains also suggest that its gains could be poised to slow soon.

Finally, its value proposition for most American users is questionable, and its valuation remains high. Given these points, I continue to recommend selling FUBO stock.

On the date of publication, Larry Ramer held a long position in ROKU. 

Larry Ramer has conducted research and written articles on U.S. stocks for 14 years. He has been employed by The Fly and Israel’s largest business newspaper, Globes. Larry began writing columns for InvestorPlace in 2015. Among his highly successful, contrarian picks have been GE, solar stocks, and Snap. You can reach him on StockTwits at @larryramer.

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