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Virtual Pay TV Operators

31 Aug 2017
Virtual Pay TV Operators

We've tracked the growth of Virtual Pay TV services from the initial US launches, Fubo TV and Sling TV, to the more recent services of Freenet's Waipu.tv and Medialaan’s Stievie Premium.

Virtual Pay TV services (or Virtual MVPDs in the US) offer live streaming of linear channels and other associated video services such as on demand content and recording features.

Key characteristics include no requirement to own network infrastructure, no consumer premise equipment, lower overheads and subscriber acquisition costs and greater distribution. Consumers benefit from lower pricing and more selective choice as well as improved user experience through Apps.

Virtual Pay TV Services include Free to Air linear channels and a selection of Pay Channels from each respective market, with US services typically including Discovery, Fox, Disney, HBO and Starz channels.

There are questions as to whether the services in the US are economically viable, especially for those standalone offerings with no ‘big brother’ Pay TV service to leverage and those with Sports focused catalogues where typically licensing fees are higher and margins very low.

European customers may be getting a more cost effective deal with services either free (add-supported) or typically priced from as low as €5.99. US Virtual Pay TV starts at $20, however there a number of feature sets which almost all US services offer - catch-up, bundled VOD and Cloud PVR. The ability to record in the Cloud is a key US feature and how ex-US operators approach this will be important to follow.

Contact us to learn more about Virtual Pay TV trends or any of our research areas.

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