Describing Sony's over-the-top pay-TV service as a product grossly mismatched with its young, price-conscious male target market, TDG analyst Joel Espelien has declared PlayStation Vue "dead on arrival."
Vue was launched last week in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia, letting users of Sony's PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 consoles watch a fairly robust bundle of broadband and cable channels on programming tiers starting at $49.99.
Espelien believes Sony was "well intentioned" in its development of Vue, but says someone at Sony needed to step up and scuttle the project before it got launched.
Why the harsh assesment?
For one, Espelien cites the target audience and its limited wealth. With more than 50 percent of U.S. young adults aged 18-34 using a PlayStation console, Vue is targeting a set of millennial-aged consumers who have seen stagnant wages for nearly 20 years.
Indeed, millennials cite economic concerns most often when polled as to why they don't subscribe to pay-TV. And with high-end Vue pricing approaching $70, Espelien notes, the OTT service is on par with many traditional cable bundles.
Further, that PlayStation audience is decidedly male and sports-loving, with Madden NFL 25 and NBA 2K 14 ranking among the cadre of violent crime and war games for the top PlayStation sellers of 2013.
Another huge factor: Without a deal with the Walt Disney Company to put the leading channel for live sports, ESPN, on Vue's program guide, the service faces long odds.
"Sony has been working on a TV service for a long time, and we can assume that the folks involved did their best," Espelien writes. "Nevertheless, someone needed to look at the fit (or lack thereof) between the PlayStation Vue service and the PlayStation user and have the guts to say, 'No, this does not make sense.' That, my friends, is true managerial courage, something that Sony was sorely lacking in this case."
- read this TDG post
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