T-Mobile Kills Live TV Service Just A Few Months After Launch
You might recall that pre-merger T-Mobile used to make fun of the wireless sector’s repeated failures in the TV space, such as Verizon’s massive Go90 face plant. Of course, at the same time, T-Mobile was busy planning its own streaming TV efforts. Launched just last fall, T-Mobile’s TVision TV service was supposed to truly disrupt the stodgy TV sector (something already happening at the hands of countless platforms). T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert explained it like this last October:
"If ever there was an industry that needed an Un-carrier overhaul, it’s cable and satellite TV,” Sievert said, using the company’s term for its disruptive moves in the wireless industry. “I mean, it’s no secret why these companies are dying, they treat their customers so badly."
That was then, this is now. Less than half a year later, T-Mobile is now scrapping its live TV service and striking a deal to offer YouTube live TV services instead:
"It’s a major change for T-Mobile’s TVision service, which was launched just a few months ago, including both live and on-demand content. T-Mobile says the existing TVision Live, Live + and Live Zone services will be phased out starting April 29. T-Mobile customers will get a $10/month discount on YouTube TV, bringing the price down to $54.99/month, as well as a month of free service."
As Verizon and AT&T, have found, disrupting the TV sector is no easy feat, even when (in AT&T’s case) you actually own a massive content empire in Time Warner. There are numerous reasons for telecom’s failure to compete meaningfully in this space, a lot of it having to do with the fact that telecom giants, used to the lack of serious competition in broadband, aren’t genuinely used to this whole disruption, competition, adaptation, and innovation stuff. Even T-Mobile, which made its fortunes being a competitive thorn in AT&T and Verizon’s side, didn’t find it to be a particularly easy road.
Granted there is still something to be said for T-Mobile figuring this out before it poured countless billions down the drain. Sort of. The company did spend an estimated $325 million to buy premium streaming vendor Layer3TV back in 2018.
Still, the losses aren’t as bad as say, AT&T, which spent nearly $200 billion in megamergers thinking it was going to dominate the TV sector, only to lose 8 million TV subscribers in a few years (something I recently wrote about at The Verge) because it had absolutely no idea what it was actually doing. T-Mobile also seemed to assume this would be an easier path that it actually was, made tougher by the fact that the same broadcasters driving relentless price hikes in traditional TV, are also doing the same thing in streaming:
— nilay patel (@reckless) March 29, 2021
Another factor at play is that this version of T-Mobile isn’t actually as disruptive as the trash-talking version helmed by former CEO John Legere just a few years ago. Thanks to the Sprint merger, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile see significantly less competition. As a result, investors will inevitably pressure them to compete even less intently on price, and they’ll inevitably comply. As a result, all of T-Mobile’s "uncarrier" disruptive plays have been getting progressively lamer and lamer, with the company desperately hoping nobody notices.
via Techdirt. https://ift.tt/1n7Sa38
April 1, 2021 at 01:36PM