23% Of U.S. vMVPD Users Also Have Legacy Pay TV

Nearly a quarter (23%) of U.S. subscribers to virtual multichannel video programming distributors (vMVPDs) also subscribe to a traditional cable, satellite, or telco pay-TV service, according to TDG, the research division of Screen Engine/ASI.

That’s down from a dual-service peak of 37% in 2018.

At that time, the vMVPD segment was dominated by Sling TV, which did not carry the ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC broadcast networks. That, plus consumers’ uncertainty about whether vMVPD services could truly replace traditional pay-TV services, led two in five vMVPD users to also keep legacy pay-TV services, according to TDG.

Since then, Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV have emerged as market leaders. Both offer the four major broadcast networks, which has significantly reduced the need for dual services, according to TDG — which says the data support its 2018 projection that by 2022, as few as 10% of vMVPD users may also subscribe to a second pay-TV service.

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The decline in dual-service subscribers has also been driven by vMVPDs’ addition of more channels to their “skinny bundles.”

“Most OTT pay-TV services now provide a full complement of both broadcast and cable channels, meaning they are more capable of competing head-to-head with ‘fat’ legacy offerings,” said Michael Greeson, co-founder and president of TDG.

Still, the continued use of dual services by nearly a quarter of vMVPD users ““speaks to the continuing reticence about service substitution value among virtual pay-TV users,” notes Greeson.

Those who still subscribe to dual services cite the programming requirements of their households and the need for access to a service when away from home. Most (71%) say that their legacy service is the one that’s most used at home.

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