vMVPDs Are Bloated; It's Time to Retire the Term 'Skinny Bundle'
vMVPD companies: You were supposed to destroy the big cable companies, not join them!
This week's streaming news has been an agony for anyone who once believed the promise of skinny bundles. The promise, I remind you, was that households would be able to subscribe to small bundles of channels that contained only the ones they were most interested in, paying a fraction of the cost of cable or satellite.
That dream is now all but dead. Continuing the price hikes we've seen from other companies, YouTube announced on Wednesday that it's raising the price of YouTube TV by $10, so it's now $49.99 per month. That's because it's adding eight channels from Discovery and plans to add OWN later in the year.
YouTube TV started at $34.99 at its 2017 launch.
YouTube should send T-Mobile a thank you note, however, because before we could process how pricey and bloated YouTube TV has become, T-Mobile announced its upcoming video streaming service will cost $90 per month and include 150 channels.
Why, vMVPD companies, are you trying so hard to kill something before it has the chance to live? In July 2018, Nielsen revealed that 64% of U.S. households subscribe to an SVOD service, but only 2.7% subscribe to a vMVPD. The general public has barely had a chance to see what these services are or understand what they offer. The main advantage is price and you're taking that away. Without a financial incentive, most people will be content to stay with the pay TV plan they already have.
What the market wants isn't all that complicated: Keep bundles around 15 or 20 channels and keep prices around $30 to $35 per month. Put other channels in add-on packs built around interests.
Viewers' tolerance for extra subscriptions is low, and most people want no more than two or three subscriptions. If the total cost matches their existing cable bill, households are going to balk.
Your so-called "skinny bundles" are looking a little pudgy, vMVPD providers. Put them on a diet before we have to retire the term for good.
While Americans talk about unplugging, we're watching more video than ever. Plus, we spend over 11 hours per day with some kind of media.