Virtual MVPD subscribers will reach 9.2M by end of year, analyst predicts

Sling TV
UBS analyst Jon Hodulik predicted that streaming skinny bundles including Sling TV will represent around 25% of all pay TV subscriptions by 2022—about 24 million users total. (Sling TV)

Virtual pay TV services including DirecTV Now, Sling TV and YouTube TV will collectively have around 9.2 million subscribers by the end of 2018, UBS analyst Jon Hodulik predicts. 

The analyst also predicted that streaming skinny bundles will represent around 25% of all pay TV subscriptions by 2022—about 24 million users total.

“As these offerings continue to improve—closing programming gaps, adding features and improving transmission quality—and traditional TV consumption falls, we expect the streamers to become increasingly attractive,” added Hodulik’s report.

The UBS report also said that the slight boost the pay TV industry has been getting from users subscribing simultaneously to traditional and streaming services will soon be ending. 

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“Doubling up, or subscribing to both traditional and streaming TV, continues to decline, suggesting the recent boost to total pay TV subs will taper off,” Hodulik wrote.

Sling TV still leads the category, with parent Dish Network reporting 2.3 million users at the end of the first quarter. AT&T, meanwhile, reported 1.5 million users at the same time, while Hulu said at the end of May that it’s live streaming service was up to 800,000 users.

Notably, Hodulik estimated that YouTube TV is up to 750,000 users. 

This week, AT&T said it will launch its ultra-low-end Watch service, a $15-a-month skinny bundle that will include Turner Networks programming and other non-sports-oriented entertainment channels. 

In May, AT&T CFO John Stephens described Watch as “very low end, very thin collection of products” with “some of the Turner video channels and bundle them with a small number of other channels and put a very small product for a customer base who is looking for that value and have a price point in the $15 range.”