Skinny TV services lose steam in Q4 | Media Analysis | Business
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Hulu+ Live TV and YouTube TV added 500,000 and 400,000 customers respectively in the fourth quarter of 2018, yet these were two bright lights in an otherwise slowing sector according to research from MoffettNathanson.
Sling TV Oculus Go 2
The research firm said that total subscribers to virtual multichannel video programme distributors (vMVPDs) rose 737,000 to 7.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2018. That’s down from the 900,000 gain that the sector saw in the fourth quarter of 2017.

“None of these are positioned as replacements for traditional or vMVPD subscriptions, but it is reasonable to assume that some customers will have cobbled together entertainment packages that are non-live, but are, well ... good enough,” said Craig Moffett, senior research analyst, in a research note. “Second, it is likely that some measure of pent-up demand has been satisfied.”

He added that the initial big uptake for skinny TV services could be from a one-time pool of those who had cut the cord: "It could be that one-time boost to the market is now running off, making visible what is in reality a much lower underlying conversion rate."

Overall, Sony PlayStation Vue, Hulu Live, YouTube TV and fuboTV added an estimated 970,000 subscribers collectively during the fourth quarter; while DirecTV Now lost 280,000.

In terms of subscriber totals, Sling TV was at 2.4 million subscribers at the end of 2018 after adding 47,000. Hulu with Live TV meanwhile stands at 1.7 million; DirecTV Now has 1.5 million; and YouTube TV is at 1 million.

For comparison’s sake, MoffettNathanson said there were 89.1 million total US traditional pay-TV subscriptions (cable, satellite and telco), down 4% (985,000 subscribers) from the year-ago quarter.