The streaming video space has gone from a two brand system to being overcrowded. We always knew that it was inevitable that brands would begin to dry up and begin to either close, shift owners, or merge with other platforms. Disney+ and Hulu, both to be owned by Disney, have begun running cross-promotions. AT&T TV Now subscribers have seen repeated price increases, now higher than cable.
This week, another streaming service is looking for a change. Sony is looking for a new owner for its ailing PlayStation Vue brand. According to The Information, Sony has begun working with Bank of America Merrill Lynch to facilitate the sale of the brand. The sale comes at a time in which Sony is trying to shed brands that don't add to their bottom line or help to maintain other brands. For Vue, with a smaller subscriber base and a newcomer to distribution, the cost of content was always going to be higher for them. This has resulted in the company raising prices to be profitable. However, as is always the case, it ended up driving customers away.
The brand, from the beginning, was a bizarre experiment from the company on every front. While Sony has always been involved in the production and corporate distribution of television content, they have never really done direct-to-consumer distribution. They also decided to follow Microsoft's lead and try to place their new entertainment brand under their gaming banner. This decision was made as Microsoft was already pulling the Xbox name off of Xbox Music and Xbox Videos. In the end, this branding decision will ultimately make the sale more difficult. There is no way that Sony allows another company to operate a product with the PlayStation name, but a buyer won't want to completely abandon the consumer awareness of the product with a new name.