The Information reports today that Sony is exploring selling off its Playstation Vue service. This is the company’s streaming TV bundle service, competing with the likes of AT&T TV Now and Hulu with Live TV.
Could Playstation Vue be an interesting acquisition target for Apple as it moves into streaming TV?
The report explains that Sony has tapped Bank of America Merrill Lynch to explore a sale. Playstation Vue reportedly loses money, and has a subscriber count of around 500,000 households. That pales in comparison to the millions of households that subscribe to Hulu, YouTube TV, and Sling TV.
Playstation Vue offers different packages of television stations bundled together. Prices start at $49.99 per month with features like DVR, five simultaneous streams, and more. All in all, despite it being rather niche, the people who use Playstation Vue largely like it — with the app having a 4.5 star rating on iOS.
Sony Corp. is exploring the sale of its Playstation Vue service, which offers a slimmed-down version of cable TV delivered over the internet, said people familiar with the situation. Sony’s move is the latest sign that the four-year-old trend toward cheaper cable-like streaming services also promoted by YouTube, DirecTV, and Dish Network has faded.
The news of Sony looking to sell Playstation Vue comes as Apple pushes into streaming TV with the launch of Apple TV+. Could Apple also join the live streaming TV market and compete with services like Sling?
Offering built-in live TV streaming would certainly be another way for Apple to beef up the TV app on Apple TV. While third-party streaming services like AT&T TV can integrate with tvOS, the ability to watch directly in the TV app would be beneficial and a better user experience.
Furthermore, Apple could theoretically bundle Apple TV+ and a live TV service together, and offer add-ons for things like Apple TV Channels, Apple Music, and iCloud storage.
Of course, Apple wouldn’t necessarily need to acquire Playstation Vue to add live TV to the Apple TV app – it could handle everything in-house. An acquisition would certainly expedite the process, though.
Apple’s trials and tribulations to build its own live streaming TV bundle have been well documented. The company was long-rumored to be negotiating with cable networks to build a $30 per month package of TV channels for Apple devices.
Ultimately, those negotiations are said to have broken down over issues on pricing and licensing. Eddy Cue led Apple’s negotiations, and is said to have faced difficulties getting the cable networks to budge at all in terms of price.
As the live streaming TV market has expanded, one thing has become clear: Companies are struggling to make money on their services and cable companies are unwilling to budge in terms of pricing. Initially, many people wanted “a la carte” streaming TV packages, where they could pay for only the channels they want. That hasn’t happened.
As reported in 2016:
One of the reasons media companies are so hesitant is they are worried the terms set by Apple would be picked up by cable-TV distributors, cutting prices across the industry — not just for Apple. Apple appears to be set on a $30 per month streaming package. At one time, it would attract media organizations with higher fees than pay-TV but wanted only a subset of the channel offerings.
Whether or not Apple has any interest in entering the live TV industry is unknown. It would be a nice complement to Apple TV+, and another way for Apple to grow its Services revenue.
Do you think Apple could revitalize its live TV efforts with a Playstation Vue acquisition? Would you subscribe to such a service? Let us know down in the comments.
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