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Next TV Summit 2016: Benefield: PlayStation Vue Audience Not Just Millennials

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NEW YORK – More than year after its initial launch in March, 2015 Sony PlayStation Vue chief Dwayne Benefield said the service is attracting a broad swath of customers, including families with children, a long way from the core gamer demographic the service initially targeted.

At the Next TV Summit here Wednesday (Oct. 19) during NYC Television & Video Week, Benefield, vice president and head of PlayStation Vue at Sony Interactive Entertainment, said that while two-thirds of its audience remains millennial, about one-quarter of subscribers are new to the PlayStation medium. That has been fueled by expanding the platforms that can run on the service.

“The new platforms definitely helped,” Benefield said in a fireside chat with Next TV editor and Multichannel News technology editor Jeff Baumgartner. “Having sticks from Amazon and Roku that are sub-$50 has helped with the ease of access to the service, PlayStation Vue is for the gamer household, including the children, wives and partners of the user.”

Benefield said that the typical PlayStation Vue customer is a heavy sports fan – its basic package includes all the Fox and Comcast regional sports networks – adult cartoons and some kids programming are also joining the most-watched ranks in the service.

“Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is one of our top shows,” Benefield said. “Kids’ channels are performing much better.  Families are engaging.”

PlayStation Vue has worked hard to include broadcast content in the service – it has reached deals to carry all four major broadcasters in their respective owned and operated [O&O] markets. While expanding out of that footprint has been more difficult, mainly because local affiliates are owned by several different groups, Benefield said the idea is to make local TV available across the footprint.

In markets where it currently doesn’t offer live local broadcasters, it offers “slim” versions of its three core packages – Access, Core and Elite – that allow users to watch network content on demand the day after original air. An Ultra TV package that includes premium channels HBO and Showtime and more than 100 other channels was added last month.

“The goal is to make all broadcast stations available,” Benefield said. “You will see us bring more and more live and local to users.”

Sony doesn’t release subscriber figures for PlayStation Vue, but Benefield said the service is exceeding all company expectations.