We are now about a month away from PlayStation Vue’s closure. This has led to many competitor services celebrating with the hopes that they now have one less competitor to worry about. Yet instead of celebrating, PlayStation Vue’s fate should be a warning flag for their competitors that they could soon join PlayStation Vue in the cord cutting graveyard.
PlayStation Vue did not fail because of the same reasons that many companies fail. The service was decent, it was early to market with a huge head start on most of its competition, and it had a loyal customer fan base. So, why did PlayStation Vue fail? What can its competitors learn from its demise?
Three Lessons YouTube TV, Hulu, & Others Can Learn from PlayStation Vue
#1 Marketing & Branding
One of PlayStation Vue’s biggest failures was marketing. Sony hoped that its millions of dedicated PlayStation gaming fans would naturally move over to its live TV service. However, little was done to reach the customers Sony wanted early on and Sony never bothered to create a dedicated Twitter or Facebook page for the service. Later, Sony spent millions on TV ads mostly explaining that you don’t need a PlayStation to use PlayStation Vue.
This leads us to our second point: the name. Sony spent the majority of what marketing it did do trying to explain its name. Sadly, when most of your marketing is explaining your name, you’re not effectively telling people why they should sign up.
Competitors to PlayStation Vue need to make sure they don’t make the same mistakes. Branding has to be clear and marketing has to be aggressive or no matter how good of a product you offer it will fail.
According to PlayStation Vue employees pricing was one of the main reasons Sony failed. Sony tried to sell the service as low as possible to attract as many subscribers as possible at the start. According to Sony employees this meant that Sony planned on price hikes as the service was not sustainable at the offered price. Once the price hikes started, Sony found their fans unwilling to pay the higher price when there was nothing justifying the cost.
Services need to be careful of the temptation of an introductory offer. Many services have tried to offer a price at launch below the cost of the service. The hope is that in a year or two they can raise the price to make up the money they lost in the first year. Cord cutters are not impressed with this strategy and would rather jump ship to on-demand-only options.
The cable model of cheap starter packages and price hikes later fails with cord cutters. Instead, cord cutters demand something to justify new higher costs. Or they would rather pay more from the start if it means they won’t be getting hit with regular price hikes.
#3 The Temptation to Have Everything
One of the biggest issues PlayStation Vue faced was the fact that a few years ago it started to become higher priced than its competition. One of the reasons was Sony tried to get as many channels into as many packages as possible.
Many cord cutters have been willing to skimp on channels if it means saving money. Increasingly the need to have everything in your TV package is being replaced with the desire for smaller more targeted TV packages. With Comcast, Hulu, and even YouTube TV all talking about offering smaller cheaper TV packages targeted to fans of news, locals, and entertainment, services need to be careful not to offer everything like cable TV does.
Americans are willing to miss out on watching a show live if it means they will save money.
These are just a few of the lessons PlayStation Vue taught us about cord cutting. What do you think was Sony’s biggest mistake? Leave us a comment and let us know.
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