Sony’s PlayStation Vue, the over-the-top TV streaming service that’s now up against a host of new competitors including Hulu and YouTube TV, is expanding its lineup to include more local stations. While the service had already offered some limited access to locals in select markets, this expansion brings 200 more stations across the U.S. to its service, including ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC stations.
In total, there are now more than 450 local stations available, the company says. (A list of the additions is available here.) It also today added ESPN College Extra.
The news is notable because of how far behind PlayStation Vue has slid in terms of subscribers, since the launch of newcomers to the market. And many of these newcomers have been touting their access to locals as one of their benefits.
PlayStation Vue, on the other hand, may have gained more locals this week, but it also recently lost all Sinclair-owned local stations, and before that, Viacom channels. While Sony says it doesn’t have plans to shut down Vue, it has also made statements about its “uncertain” future, which concerned its user base.
Likely because of its branding as “PlayStation,” many consumers may believe that the service is something that’s only available to PlayStation owners. It’s not, though – Vue also streams across platforms, including iOS, Android, the web, and connected media players like Apple TV, Roku, Android TV, Fire TV, as well as Chromecast.
While an early player in streaming TV, Playstation Vue today lags on subscribers.
Dish’s Sling TV leads the pack with 2.3 million paying customers, followed by AT&T’s DirecTV Now with 1.8 million. Meanwhile, the newer Hulu Live TV service hit 800,000 subscribers in May, while YouTube TV passed 800,000 around the same time. PlayStation Vue, however, reportedly has over 500,000 subscribers, in comparison.
The major players are benefitting from their large corporate parents, Digiday recently pointed out. For example, AT&T acquired Time Warner and is now leveraging its wireless business to sells subscriptions. And Google can afford to market and fund YouTube TV as it grows, and has bought expensive partnerships like the World Series and NBA Finals along the way.
What Vue has going for it, is that the market itself – streaming – is growing, and its service is among one of the better-designed and more stable. But if it’s not willing to rebrand PlayStation Vue into something more approachable, it may never be able to come out ahead.