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CandW discuss if vMVPDs are replacing pay TV

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Estimates put the losses of the pay TV industry in Q3 at 1 million subscribers. vMVPDs like Sling TV gained 0.9 million customers in Q3. Are people cutting the cord and switching to vMVPDs?

Chapter 1: Pay TV loses, vMVPD gains (1:20)

Cord-cutting looks to hit 1M in Q3 2017. Not coincidently vMVPDs gained nearly that many, 900,000) new subs in the same period. DirecTV Now seems to be leading the gains as it acquired 300,000 new subscribers in Q3. The number of people subscribing to the top three vMVPDs likely numbers more than 3.1 million today.

I wondered if people were leaving pay TV with the intention of signing up for a vMVPD. Will does not buy that. There certainly isn’t any documentary evidence that people are quitting pay TV and immediately picking up Sling TV or DirecTV Now.

Chapter 2: Wireless bundling of vMVPDs working (5:40)

Will talked about how AT&T is bundling DirecTV Now with wireless plans. Will thinks this a big reason DirecTV Now gained so many subscribers. He also speculates that it could lead to the service accelerating ahead of the market leader Sling TV.

However, Sling TV is also looking to wireless operators to help it reach new customers. The company signed an agreement with CCA to allow its member wireless companies to bundle Sling TV with there wireless plans. CCA members reach 120 million wireless users.

Chapter 3: YouTube TV gets aggressive (10:00)

YouTube TV has made several moves in the last week that should help it start to catch up to its bigger rivals. It has begun to support connected TV devices with native apps. Doing so should boost quality and make it easier to watch. It also was a big sponsor of the World Series of baseball. It appeared prominently throughout the series on billboards, behind Homeplate, and in ads. Moreover, it added Fox local stations to the service in the top 50 DMAs.

Chapter 4: vMVPDs do not fulfill the same role as pay TV (16:40)

I explain why I think that people subscribing to vMVPDs are not viewing the same as traditional pay TV. I speculate that they see it as a part of a broader entertainment package including SVOD and AVOD services. Will is not convinced. He thinks when you include broadband and all the other services it is at least as expensive as regular pay TV.

 

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