It’s getting crowded in here all of a sudden.
Sling TV, a lone over-the-top TV voice in the broadband wilderness when it launched in 2015, now finds itself in an expanding field of virtual multichannel video programming distributors.
Though there are nuances in pricing, device support, programming and packaging, the virtual MVPD world is also comprised of DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, fuboTV, and Hulu, which launched the beta version of its live TV service in May.
Yet another competitor is gearing up to join the mix: Vidgo.
Vidgo has been quietly flying under the radar since last summer, when the service was still considering a launch in 2016 following its coming out party at CES earlier that year.
A Vidgo official said the company will announce pricing and packaging closer to its launch, but Vidgo previously said it would focus on providing local TV signals and create-your-own bundles. Last year, Vidgo said it had set its sights on initial markets that would include New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Miami and San Francisco.
Per the Vidgo site, the service will also offer a VOD library, multiple streams, a cloud DVR, and support for multiple streaming platforms, including Apple TV boxes, Roku Players and smart TVs.
Vidgo poked its head out earlier this month, when Vibrant TV was announced as a “charter television network” for the service, which said it is now anticipating a commercial launch this fall.
In the OTT word, Vibrant TV currently offers free, ad-supported content and a subscription service that runs $4.99 per month. That OTT offering is already supported on several platforms, including iOS and Android mobile devices, Roku players, Chromecast streaming adapters, Amazon Fire TV devices, as well as smart TVs from Panasonic, Toshiba, LG Electronics, and Emerson.
Vibrant TV, which carries programs such as Very British Problems, World of Free Sports (Europe) and Redfern Now (Australia), also distributes its network over-the-air in markets such as Detroit, Kansas City and Las Vegas, among others.
Vidgo also noted that it would be available via “leading providers in the cellular and alternative consumer markets, and will include some very well-known national companies.”
Still, the challenge ahead for Vidgo will be to stand apart from a crowd of other OTT TV players that are already launched and have the advantage of significant brand recognition.
Plus, it will be fighting for share among a small but growing group of cord-cutters and cord-nevers. Traditional pay TV providers lost about 941,000 subscribers in the second quarter of 2017, but only about half of that was recaptured by virtual MVPDs, according to a recent analysis from MoffettNathanson.
The firm also estimated that Sling TV added 89,000 subs in Q2, while DirecTV Now added 80,000 (excluding free trials), while PlayStation Vue, Hulu Live and YouTube TV brought in about 300,000 between them.
Notably, YouTube TV, which recently launched in 14 additional markets, reached 2 million downloads this summer, according to app store data companies Sensor Tower and App Annie.
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