LOS ANGELES: Sony is shutting down its live TV subscription service PlayStation Vue: The company announced Tuesday that Vue will be shuttered on Jan 30 of next year.
"Unfortunately, the highly competitive Pay TV industry, with expensive content and network deals, has been slower to change than we expected," Sony said in a blog post. "Because of this, we have decided to remain focused on our core gaming business."
Sony launched PlayStation Vue as an Internet-based pay TV service in early 2015. "We had ambitious goals for how our service could change how people watch TV, showcasing PlayStation's ability to innovate in a brand-new category within the Pay TV industry," the company said Oct 29.
PlayStation Vue was tightly integrated with the company's PlayStation game console, and offered access to both local stations and cable networks via a variety of packages starting at US$50 (RM209) per month. Sony never disclosed subscriber numbers for PlayStation Vue, but the service is said to have around half a million paying subscribers.
Sony began moving away from Internet video services last year when it sold its ad-supported video service Crackle to Chicken Soup for the Soul. As part of that deal, which gave Sony a minority ownership in a new joint-venture, Sony also divested from the unit selling advertising for PlayStation Vue, raising doubts about the future of PlayStation Vue.
Sony engaged in talks to sell PlayStation Vue, The Information was first to report last week. Variety has since been able to confirm that one of the companies Sony had conversations with was Fubo TV, an Internet-based pay TV service with a focus on sports. It is unclear how far these talks progressed, and why they ultimately broke down.
Sony's decision to shutter PlayStation Vue comes as Internet-based TV services are under pressure across the industry. Initially launched as "skinny bundles" to appeal to price-conscious cord cutters, operators have since been forced to significantly raise the prices for these Internet-based services.
Just last week, AT&T announced that it would increase the price of the base package of its AT&T TV Now service by US$15 next month. The service, which originally launched as DirecTV Now, has been losing subscribers en masse even before this upcoming price hike. This week, AT&T revealed that it lost 195,000 Internet TV customers in Q3 of 2019 alone. – Variety/Reuters
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