Sony surrenders in streaming war

As HBO Max, Disney+ and Apple TV+ ramp up their highly touted video-streaming services, Sony has decided to wave the white flag. It's shutting down PlayStation Vue.

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Vue has been operational since 2015 and was one of the first internet-delivered bundles offering video services as well as its trademark gaming. While Sony never released subscriber numbers, the service was thought to be lagging behind  cord-cutting alternatives such as Dish's Sling TV, Hulu and YouTube TV. The Hollywood Reporter published that Vue had 800,000 subscribers.

John Kodera, Sony Interactive's deputy president, cited "the highly competitive pay-TV industry, with expensive content and network deals," as the reason for ending the service.

While Sony reached agreements with many of the major content providers from the NFL to Disney and dozens of local broadcast stations, consumers were increasingly opting for streaming services that offered both a mix of original content and an alternative to cable TV.

Last year, there were some reports that Sony would expand its original content offerings. It jumped in the streaming game with the Crackle service, which was the home of Jerry Seinfeld's "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" before it migrated to Netflix.

Other originals were offered on Crackle, dramas such as "The Oath" and the animated comedy "Supermansion," but the offerings did not reach the output of Netflix or the plans of the forthcoming streaming services. Last year, Sony sold the majority share of Crackle to Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment Inc.

Vue, which offered a variety of movies and TV content, was also available beyond the PlayStation consoles and supported by Roku players, Amazon Fire and Apple TV. Depending on the number of included channels, Vue cost between $45 and $80 per month.

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The Vue service will end on January 30, 2020.

"We had ambitious goals for how our service could change how people watch TV," Kodera wrote, "showcasing PlayStation’s ability to innovate in a brand-new category within the Pay TV industry."

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