On October 29, 2019, Sony announced it’ll be shutting down its PlayStation Vue streaming service at the end of January 2020. Sony cites the “highly competitive Pay TV industry, with expensive content and network deals,” as the reason it’s closing the service. Sony had been raising its prices incrementally over the years in an attempt to match the rising costs of licensing content, with a $5 monthly increase this past July that made it one of the most expensive TV streaming options.
The Motley Fool reported that PlayStation Vue was far behind the competition with about 800,000 subscribers, while Sling TV has 2.4 million, Hulu + Live TV has 2 million, DIRECTV Now has 1.5 million, and Youtube TV has 1 million. Not to mention the plethora of on-demand streaming services that continue to tempt consumers away from live TV options with cheaper monthly prices. Subscriber numbers for Live TV streaming services pale in comparison to Netflix’s estimated 60 million and Hulu’s 26 million (according to May 2019 numbers from eMarketer). And the upcoming Disney+ debut threatens to shake up the landscape further — even for juggernauts like Netflix.
Consumers are feeling the fatigue of that crowded market. As more and more companies announce their own streaming companies, choosing which services to subscribe to becomes increasingly difficult, and juggling multiple subscriptions becomes more costly. As a result, piracy and password sharing are on the rise. It’s unlikely PlayStation Vue will be the only service to bow out. FuboTV seems similarly at-risk, given its lower subscriber count (300,000) and higher annual cost ($795 vs. $690 for PlayStation Vue — figures from eMarketer). However, it’s worth noting that Fubo offers live soccer streaming options, which are hard to come by outside of traditional cable. So it’s possible that Fubo has simply carved out its niche. But with Apple TV+, Disney+, and HBO Max just around the corner, it’s hard to say which services are “safe” anymore.
PlayStation Vue launched in 2015 and is Reviews.com’s “Best for Live Sports” in our review of TV streaming services. We especially favored PlayStation Vue for its comprehensive sports offerings — it collected more sports networks than the competition, including out-of-network regional channels. We’ll be updating our relevant reviews and in the meantime, we recommend Sling TV for budget-friendly sports streaming.