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Sony to shutter Playstation Vue streaming service

Playstation Vue has a user base of around 500,000 households

Citing a hyper-competitive landscape, Sony today (29 October) said it will shutdown Playstation Vue on 30 January, 2020.

"Unfortunately, the highly competitive Pay TV industry, with expensive content and network deals, has been slower to change than we expected," Sony said in a statement. "Because of this, we have decided to remain focused on our core gaming business."

Playstation Vue, which launched in 2015, is what is referred to as a virtual multichannel video programming distributor (vMVPD) – essentially the over-the-top version of a traditional cable TV provider.

Vue has faced increasing competition from other vMVPDs, including YouTube TV, Hulu Live TV, Sling TV, AT&T TV Now, sports-focused Fubo TV and entertainment-focused Philo.

AT&T TV Now (formerly DirecTV Now) is also struggling, as AT&T recently reported a loss of 195,000 subscribers to its pay TV service.

Streaming is booming, but dollars are mostly going to video on demand (VOD) services. Apple, Disney, WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal all have plans to introduce their own VOD services in the coming months to compete with Netflix.

Sony recently moved out of the VOD space when it sold off a majority stake of Crackle.

Sony said it will deactive new trial and paid subscriber sign ups in the near future.

Vue has a user base of around 500,000 households, according to The Information, which first reported that Sony was exploring a sale of its vMPVD offering.

"We are very proud of what PlayStation Vue was able to accomplish," Sony said. "We had ambitious goals for how our service could change how people watch TV, showcasing PlayStation’s ability to innovate in a brand-new category within the Pay TV industry. We want to thank all of our customers, some of whom have been with us since PlayStation Vue’s launch in 2015."

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