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Do We Already Have Too Many Live Streaming Services?

News Analysis 

First, there was Sling TV.

Then Sony’s PlayStation Vue.

Then Layer3

Then DIRECTV Now.

Then YouTube TV.

And Hulu Live is coming soon.

Oh, and let’s not forget Verizon and Comcast. Also, possibly, coming soon. And there are rumors that Apple, Amazon and some others may join in.


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The live streaming business is booming. Booming, at least, in the number of companies entering it, if not in the actual number of customers. While most live streamers won’t reveal actual subscriber numbers, sketchy reports suggest the total number is approximately two million, if that. Just two million, more than two years after the launch of Sling TV.

Which brings me to the point of this article.

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There is a growing audience for an alternative to cable and satellite services which often pad their programming packages with arbitrary fees and other inconveniences such as contract termination penalties.

But the number of consumers who have signed up for the live streaming services (cheaper packages; no contracts) is still relatively small and there’s no indication it will grow at a faster rate.

(Vue, for instance, has roughly 400,000 paying subscribers two years after its launch, according to Discovery CEO David Zaslav. Bloomberg reported it had 100,000 a year ago so, if these accounts are correct, it’s only added 300,000 in one year despite an increasingly aggressive marketing campaign by Sony.)

But the number of companies who are trying to tap the, yes, growing, but still small, audience of pay TV streamers is growing at a meteoric rate. When Hulu launches, and if Verizon and Comcast follow suit, that will be eight companies offering live streaming plans to counter the traditional pay TV service.
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Eight companies for an audience that still has to be regarded as a niche one, at best.

It says here that’s there no way the live streaming category will expand rapidly enough (if it ever does) to keep all these companies in the black.

There will be casualties in the live streaming business, and probably sooner than you think.

— Phillip Swann

About TV Answer Man (633 Articles)
The TV Answer Man is veteran journalist Phillip Swann who has covered the TV technology scene for more than two decades. He will report on the latest news and answer your questions regarding new devices and services that are changing the way you watch television.

4 Comments on Do We Already Have Too Many Live Streaming Services?

  1. Layer 3, $50/month 1st 3 month then $90/month, seriously??!!

    Youtube has to bulk up on offering channels or not worth renewing after the free month offer.

  2. The GreatArtiste // April 9, 2017 at 7:33 pm // Reply

    I’m seriously considering jumping onto YouTube TV as a base streaming package to “cut the cord”. I’ve had it with Charter Spectrum they just jacked up my triple play from $200 to $230 last month w/o any justification or increase in service. I’ve tried to get OTA broadcasts with an indoor antenna, but it’s really impossible to pick up some stations at all, others are intermittent. When I do the math to get the premium & basic cable channels I want, it winds up costing the same or more than my current package. And I lose my DVR.

  3. No. Never. No.

    I can choose in this market. I have the power of $10. That buys me one month on near any service to try out and see if I like, or binge and leave. I don’t have to pay some >$70 per month with installation fees to buy channels I don’t want for the one or two I do. Add in installation fee. Add in cable box that is on me to return to get a thousand things I won’t watch when I can pay $10 and see the few things that I do.

    The crappy services will go. The good services will rise. I pay $30 a month for all the television I want off of 3 different services, and if one of them stops offering me what I want, I’ll drop them and get another one.

    This is a golden age of ala carte entertainment, and it’s fantastic.

    • The GreatArtiste // April 10, 2017 at 10:21 am // Reply

      @James, please, inform all of us which of these wonderful streaming services work for you? Are you getting your local OTA stations through streaming? What are you getting ala carte at such low pricing? You’d be providing a public service to all the readers of Swanni Says. I’ll have what you’re having.

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