With the backdrop of new virtual pay TV businesses slowing -- if not losing some subscribers -- the new environment has now claimed a major operation: Sony is shutting down PlayStation Vue.
The service -- which started in 2015, looking to compete with the likes of Sling TV, DirecTV Now (AT&T TV Now), YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, and others -- will cease operation on January 30, 2020.
In a Tuesday blog post, John Kodera, deputy president of Sony Interactive Entertainment, said: “Unfortunately, the highly competitive pay TV industry, with expensive content and network deals, has been slower to change than we expected. Because of this, we have decided to remain focused on our core gaming business.”
Video gamers could access live, linear TV networks on their PlayStation set-top-box game units -- as they would with a traditional cable, satellite, and telco subscription. PlayStation Vue could also be accessed via Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV set-top devices.
PlayStation Vue grew to 800,000 subscribers.
Going forward, Kodera says, PlayStation fans can continue to access movie and TV content through the PlayStation Store on PS4 units as well as Sony’s partnerships with entertainment apps. Sony says currently there are 100 million PlayStation 4s in the market today.
All this comes a day after one of the bigger virtual pay TV services, AT&T TV Now (formerly DirecTV Now) reported that it lost 195,000 subscribers in the third quarter of 2019, which follows up up on a loss of 168,000 subscribers in the second quarter. Currently, AT&T TV Now has 1.1 million subscribers.
Sling TV is the leader in subscribers among services providing live, linear TV networks delivered by broadband -- with around 2.5 million subscribers -- according to most analysts. MoffettNathanson Research estimates Hulu + Live TV has 2.4 million subscribers, with YouTube TV coming in at 1.5 million.