Despite adding 220,000 broadband customers, seeing huge success with its next-gen, cloud-based video platform, X1, and the continued erosion of its traditional pay-TV audience -- down another 4,000 this quarter – Comcast remains reluctant to commit to an OTT strategy that would allow it to pivot to become a virtual MVPD (VMVPD). But, Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts, in a Q2 earnings call today, didn’t rule the move out.
Dish Network’s OTT service, Sling TV, continues to tweak its offerings as it looks to push subscriber numbers higher and maintain its lead in the virtual MSO space.
Its new multi-stream service, which has been coasting along in beta version, today became a formal offering named Sling Blue. Priced at $25 a month for new customers (existing multi-stream beta customers will stay at $20) the service allows users to watch up to three streams at once.
PlayStation Vue, Sony’s Internet TV package, just launched on another platform – Roku – making it just a little bit easier for cord-cutter wannabes to dip their toes in the water before taking the big plunge.
The service, which offers a pay as you go service with no contract, has three tiers:
Busy day in Sling TV-land where the skinny bundle of Internet TV channels rolled out four announcements (and added some bulk in the process).
The OTT play from Dish Network now is available on 4th-Gen Apple TV, with all of its iterations – single-stream, beta multi-stream, Sling Latino and Sling International offerings – available to Sling TV subscribers via the app from Apple’s App Store.
Earlier this week, at the INTX Show in Boston, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said the cable operator had no intentions of launching a virtual pay-TV service outside its footprint.
But, that’s not the case with AT&T, which last year bought DirecTV and, in the process, becoming the biggest pay-TV player in the United States.
Another day, another rumored entrant into the Cloud TV battle, this time, it’s YouTube that is alleged to be planning its own virtual MSO offering with a bundle of broadcast and cable networks under the moniker “Unplugged.”
Rumors? What rumors? Hulu this morning during its Newsfronts presentation said it will start streaming feeds from broadcast and cable nets in Q1 2017, making it the first SVOD company to offer live content and giving it a potential edge on rivals Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video.
The streamer will create a "deeply personalized experience" merging linear TV and on-demand video, said CEO Mike Hopkins.
While Apple fiddles with its long-delayed (dead?) Internet TV service and Sling TV and Sony PlayStation Vue strive to craft packages of network content that will appeal to a broad array of America’s increasingly Internet-only households, Hulu – which is owned by Disney, Fox and Comcast – which already offers an SVOD service – looks ready to jump feet-first into the virtual MVPD fire with live streaming content from at least two of its owners.
Villanova may have scored a victory for the ages last night (sorry North Carolina) with its final-second buzzer beater in the NCAA Men’s Basketball championship game, but Sling TV scored a coup of its own, saying viewership on the streaming service increase 1,140% from the tip off of the first game to ‘Nova’s celebratory net cutting at the end of the game.
Sling TV representatives said it saw a “record-numbers of basketball fans flock to Sling TV.”
A year ago, the big stories coming out of March Madness for Sling TV, Dish Network’s OTT play, were about its failure to handle increased viewership during the tournament’s semi-final games. Streams were, in a word, crap, with stuttering and choppiness that made them painful to watch.
Sling TV’s Twitter account carried this mea culpa:
This week, Sony’s PlayStation Vue virtual pay-TV service made its long-expected jump to a nationwide offering, after percolating in a handful of launch cities for the past several months.