The company said it will shut down PlayStation Vue on 30 January 2020. Previously, The Information said Sony was looking for a buyer for the service, which has been reportedly hemorrhaging money since it launched in 2015, despite repeated price hikes. Its failure to succeed comes down to pricey licensing fees and likely because it only had about 500,000 subscribers.
In comparison, Hulu had a total US customer base exceeding 28 million in May 2019, and Netflix had 60 million paying domestic subscribers this past July, while Dish said Sling TV had 2.472 million subscribers as of July 2019.
“Unfortunately, the highly competitive Pay TV industry, with expensive content and network deals, has been slower to change than we expected. Because of this, we have decided to remain focused on our core gaming business,” Sony explained. “PlayStation fans can continue to access movie and TV content through the PlayStation Store on PS4 and via our partnerships with top entertainment apps.”
PlayStation Vue offered a variety of so-called skinny bundles for cable cutters, starting at about $50 a month. Services like Dish's Sling and Google's YouTube TV worked similarly. Not only did Sony have them to contend with, but also keep in mind Disney+ and Apple TV+ are both launching next month, while HBO Max and NBC Universal's Peacock are coming next year, too.
CBS also recently merged with Viacom to help pad CBS All Access.
Every one of these companies has been spending billions to have their own original, exclusive content. Sony, on the other hand, has been slow to do the same, so now it's realising that a total exit is its best option.