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FuboTV is preparing to battle Hulu, YouTube TV with better technology

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FuboTV may be the biggest live TV-streaming services no one’s heard of.

Since launching in 2015, the $45-per-month service aimed at sports fans has racked up 250,000 subscribers with essentially no marketing. It’s still tiny in a market dominated by corporate-owned competitors like Dish’s Sling TV, AT&T’s DirecTV Now, and Hulu Live, which have all racked up over a million subscribers. FuboTV’s smaller competitors include Sony’s PlayStation Vue, with 500,000 subscribers as of last summer; and YouTube TV, with a reported 800,000 subscribers as of last summer.

The negative chatter in the industry says growth in the live streaming TV (vMVPD) market is losing steam, but FuboTV cofounder and CEO David Gandler believes his service can not just survive but become a significant player. By 2025, Gandler said FuboTV could capture 10% of the market, even though it has just 2% today, according to FuboTV’s own estimates.

Read more: There are 6 major choices for streaming live TV over the internet — here’s how they compare

That assumes strong international growth. FuboTV’s subscribers are primarily in the US, but by 2025 Gandler is aiming for 25 million subscribers, two-thirds of them outside the US.

This might sound far-fetched, but Gandler said FuboTV sees itself as competing on user experience.

It was early as a streaming service in making some sports content available in 4K with HDR in beta for people using certain devices, which allows for high-quality viewing that improves the experience of watching live sports, though is currently mostly associated with movies and Netflix. FuboTV also launched addressable ads in January, ahead of certain competitors (Hulu Live and YouTube TV).

Reviewers give FuboTV points for having an extensive selection of hard-to-find niche sports, slick apps, and low-latency streaming.

But common knocks on FuboTV are that it’s not on any gaming devices and lacks ESPN, the biggest sports network.

FuboTV has a good user experience, but where it really shines is its breadth of regional sports and local news, which other vMVPDs don’t have, said Alan Wolk, co-founder and lead analyst for TVREV.

“They’re a great acquisition target for someone,” he said. “They have a good product, sizeable enough audience.”

On the ESPN issue, Gandler counters that FuboTV is only missing 16 Monday Night Football games and that it aired other major sports events like the Super Bowl. FuboTV also has broadened its appeal by adding news and entertainment; now, 60% of its viewing is non-sports, with channels like Fox, MSNBC, HGTV, and TCN.

FuboTV is expanding to smart TVs

This quarter, Fubo plans to begin to be available on smart TVs for the first time (it’s just on connected TVs now), an important market, with 46 million US households having TVs with internet built in, per Emarketer.

FuboTV is building a live TV recommendation engine that will show users a personalized homepage, like Netflix and YouTube TV do, and that will roll out in the second quarter. FuboTV is also working on so-called synthetic streams of content that will be customized to the viewer and which it expects to roll out in a few years.

“We look to the future as being a Netflix or a Spotify,” Gandler told Business Insider. “They represent the two best technology product services in their respective categories. Ultimately, I have to believe consumers gravitate to better technology.”

The broader industry is consolidating, seemingly leaving FuboTV vulnerable as the rare live streaming service that’s not part of a big conglomerate (Philo, aimed at the non-sports fan, is another). Those big corporate parents may not necessarily need to make money on their streaming services if they fulfill other goals, but FuboTV doesn’t have that luxury.

Founded in 2015, FuboTV has raised $150 million from Sky, 21st Century Fox, AMC Networks, Northzone, and others. It’s set to make $200 million in revenue this year and is not profitable. But Gandler said Fubo is close to breaking even on a per-subscriber basis, meaning revenue per subscriber exceeds per-subscriber acquisition costs.

Gandler admitted it’ll be tough to stay independent as a small startup. While he said he would like to stay independent, “It’s tough in a sector that’s skewed by M&A to take that off the table.”

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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

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OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

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Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

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While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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