Once viewed as “the last line of defense for cable networks” against video cord cutting, virtual MVPD services “imploded” in the first quarter, losing a collective 341,000 users, according to MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett.
Many of those customer losses belonged to Dish Network’s seminal vMVPD service, Sling TV, which reported the loss of 281,000 users in Q1. AT&T TV Now (formerly DirecTV Now) lost 138,000 customers during the period. Moffett said fuboTV lost users in Q1, as well
In fact, the analyst said in a report published Friday morning that even Hulu + Live TV, now the market leader and recently the fastest growing of the live-streamed skinny-bundled vMVPD services, has decelerated its growth. With a recent 22% price increase to $54.99, Disney-controlled Hulu + Live TV only added 100,000 users in the first quarter.
The relatively new vMVPD sector—which kicked off with the launches of Sling TV and Sony PlayStation Vue in early 2015—saw its first casualty in January, when Sony shuttered a Vue service that had accrued an estimated 500,000 users.
“Their 500,000 subscribers appear to have gone … nowhere,” Moffett wrote.
The entire vMVPD sector is now shrinking at a rate of 5.3% a year.
“Yes, that too is the worst ever,” the analyst added.
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