– Offering ‘Slim’ Pay TV Bundles at Lower Prices
-Now Streaming ESPN but No Over-the-Air Network Content
The Internet TV market just gained a lot of steam and a strong competitor with the recent nationwide launch of Sony’s streaming pay TV service PlayStation Vue.
Anyone in the US with a Sony PlayStation or Amazon Fire TV device can now subscribe to the Internet TV service, making Sony the first so-called “virtual MSO (Multiple Systems Operator)” to directly challenge every pay TV provider in the US.
Sony Playstation Vue: content packages at competitive rates
The PlayStation Vue OTT service was formerly available in only seven major metropolitan areas when it first launched last year, and offered at the time tiers that ranged from $50-$90 per month.
Sony has lowered the prices of its Internet TV bundles to make them more attractive to Millennials, cord cutters and cord nevers. The new Vue markets will have a choice between the $30 Access Slim package which has about 55 channels, the $35 Core Slim package with about 70 channels plus live national and select regional sports networks and the $45 Elite Slim package which has over 100 channels along with the sports programming offered in the Core package.
Just a few weeks ago Sony dropped the subscription prices of packages in the original Vue markets by $10 each, undoubtedly in preparation for the nationwide launch of the service. The price drops set the service up to be a more viable alternative to a pay TV subscription. Sony also announced with the price drops that it had added ESPN and Disney networks to its content offerings; essential networks for most families with children or sports fans.
Sony is changing the content offerings for the nationwide rollout of PlayStation Vue. In the initial markets that the service was available in – New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco and Miami – packages for the service start at $40 per month and include local broadcast TV channels. In the 203 new markets it has just entered PlayStation Vue will offer “Slim” versions of its original channel packages at cheaper rates. The catch is that the “Slim” packages do not have access to local channels.
“Content from ABC, Fox and NBC will be available only as on demand content in the Slim multi-channel plans. Most on demand content will be available within 24 hours after airing. CBS live and on demand programming will be added to select TV markets at a later date,” the company said.
The new Slim packages that exclude local programming will not be available to subscribers in the original seven Vue markets, so no pricing changes in the original markets will occur because of the expansion. Access to local channels in the new markets could happen in the future which will more than likely lead to hikes in subscription pricing but for now no additional package or pricing information is available.
Internet TV Now Offers Viable Alternatives to Pay TV
The Internet TV market is gearing up to be a real disruptor to the pay TV industry. OTT subscription video services have created a video landscape in which people are now more inclined to find exactly what they want to watch, be it via pay TV or OTT service. Subscription video service numbers are growing rapidly but these services still cost money so people are looking to save money and pay TV channel packages are the best place to do so since many people may have hundreds of channels but only watch 20 or so.
It is still early in the game but Internet TV services could eliminate the entire skinny bundle debacle between pay TV providers and subscribers as services like Vue offer an actual alternative to pay TV that eliminates the cable company altogether and with time it can only be expected that local content offerings will become more accessible.
PlayStation Vue’s chief competitor in the space is Dish Network’s Sling TV, which offers 23 live TV channels for $20 per month. Sling TV’s price point is closer to what those looking to cut the cord are willing to spend considering consumers are cutting the cord to save money when compared with the traditional cable TV subscription.
Sling TV is also available on many more devices than Vue such as Roku, Chromecast, Fire TV and mobile Apple and Android devices along with an array of others. PlayStation Vue is at a disadvantage when it comes to delivery because watching Vue on a TV screen requires a PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Amazon Fire TV device or Chromecast to cast Vue from an iPad or iPhone.
PlayStation Vue is advantageous compared to Sling TV in many ways though. Vue gives the user a TV experience that is similar to what they would get with a pay TV subscription because it comes with a cloud DVR with the functionality to record programs and pause and rewind live TV programming. Vue also allows subscribers up to …
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