vMVPDs coming of age, mainly among younger viewers

Virtual multichannel video programming distributors (vMVPDs) are gradually coming of age, particularly among younger viewers. According ...

Virtual multichannel video programming distributors (vMVPDs) are gradually coming of age, particularly among younger viewers. According to the Leichtman Research Group, 18-44 year-olds account for 71% of adults in the U.S. who have a live streaming vMVPD pay TV service (like Sling TV, DirecTV NOW, Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV, or PlayStation Vue). Overall, 16% of adults ages 18-44 currently have a vMVPD service, compared to 6% of ages 45 and older.

Of those who currently get a vMVPD service, 43% switched directly from a traditional (cable, satellite or telco) pay TV service, and 25% also have a traditional service. In addition, 17% switched from another vMVPD service, and 15% were most recently non-subscribers to any type of pay TV service.

The findings are based on an online survey of 6,715 households from throughout the United States and are part of the LRG study Internet-Delivered Pay TV Services 2019, LRG's second annual study on the topic.

Other findings indicate:

  • 42% with a vMVPD service are ages 18-34, compared to 26% of traditional pay TV subscribers and 33% of pay TV non-subscribers in TV households.
  • vMVPD subscribers have a mean annual household income similar to traditional pay TV subscribers, but 33% above non-subscribers in TV households.
  • 73% of vMVPD subscribers are very satisfied with their service, but 20% are very likely to switch from a vMVPD service in the next six months.
  • 93% with a vMVPD service also have an SVOD service from Netflix, Amazon Prime, and/or Hulu, compared to 71% of traditional pay TV subscribers and 74% of non-subscribers in TV households.
  • vMVPD subscribers watch the services at home 78% of the time, compared to 82% at-home viewing of HBO NOW and 88% at-home viewing of Netflix.
  • 24% of those who do not currently have a vMVPD service are very interested in getting one.

"vMVPD services were first introduced about four years ago, and the market for these lower-cost/lower-channel pay TV services is still growing and evolving," said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for LRG. "Consumers continue to experiment with the various vMVPD services, along with other traditional and streaming options, to find the best combinations of video content and cost."

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