Once considered the future of the video business, OTT-based live-channel bundles, otherwise known as virtual MVPDS, or vMVPDs, have been more recently written off by some analysts as failed businesses.
But nearly six years after Dish Network ushered in the vMVPD model with the launch of Sling TV, the competitors seem to be holding the line in a low-margin gambit, where affordable pricing is undermined by ever-increasing program licensing demands.
With the recent launch of T-Mobile’s TVision service, there are more than a dozen vMVPDs on the market. But the third quarter was the first time that all of the biggest virtual operators actually reported their subscriber counts. In fact, the top six services tallied more than 11.5 million users between them.
By our rough estimate, about 15% of the remaining pay TV business in the U.S. is accounted for by these no-contract, immediate sign-up, skinny-bundled OTT services.
Below is a low-resolution look at how the top six vMVPDs stack up in terms of stated subscriber count.
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