It was only last year analysts and reported were calling cord cutting a niche fad. The majority opinion in media outlets was pay TV had little to fear from live TV streaming services. The data show that is no longer the case. Sling TV just announced they have 2.2 million subscribers! Furthermore, DIRECTV NOW recently announcing 1.2 million video subscribers. If you take the remaining estimates from streaming services like FuboTV, Hulu Live TV, YouTube TV, and Vue, that’s an estimated 5 million viewers.
In fact, Sling TV and DIRECTV Now are in the top 10 when it comes to video subscription services:
- AT&T – 24.1 million
- Comcast – 22.5 million
- Charter – 17.2 million
- Dish Network – 11.5 million
- Verizon Communications – 4.7 million
- Cox Communications – 4.1 Million
- Altice USA – 3.6 million
- Sling TV – 2.2 million
- Frontier Communications – 1.5 Million
- DIRECTV NOW – 1.2 million
While Sling TV and DIRECTV NOW are owned by Dish Network and AT&T, these numbers bode well for other companies with live TV streaming services. Furthermore, it should be easier for these newer online video services to put up large subscriber number down the road.
Unlike traditional pay-TV services that eschew competition and stick to certain regions of the country, these online streaming services offer their product nationwide. While this increases competition, it also provided many more potential customers.
We’ve already seen pricing innovation from services like Philo. They’ve eliminated sports channels from their lineup to provide top-tier entertainment channels for only $16 a month. If their model succeeds, I expect more pricing innovation to follow providing even more options for customers.
Since it’s release in 2015, Sling TV has had a yearly subscriber growth of around 50%. All indications point to DIRECTV NOW having similar growth, They won’t maintain that momentum indefinitely, but streaming live TV online is still a relatively new concept for many American viewers. As the technology improves, so will the potential customer base. This is welcome news for pay-TV customers that have been longing for more viewing choices and more affordable services.
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