Mar 30, 2021 - Economy

Telecoms giants ditch skinny bundles

Data: MoffettNathanson Research; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: MoffettNathanson Research; Chart: Axios Visuals

The live TV "skinny bundle" is proving to be a much tougher business to crack than telecom providers and tech giants initially expected.

Driving the news: T-Mobile announced a major deal with Google that will, among other things, see the mobile carrier give up on running its own cable rival "TVision" and instead resell YouTube TV.

  • The move is essentially a recognition that T-Mobile US was not going to be able to take on the existing TV providers.

What they're saying: "The challenge they all face is they are not really for die-hard sports fans because sports have become too expensive," says Rich Greenfield, Partner at LightShed Ventures.

Be smart: "I think non-Hulu and non-Youtube TV (skinny bundles) are going to have a rough future," says Greenfield.

  • AT&T said last month it would spin out its digital skinny bundle service "AT&T TV," along with the rest of its video businesses.
  • Sony shut down its skinny bundle service PlayStation Vue in 2019.
  • "Google and Hulu live can afford to never make money because there is larger goal — for Google it's to transition ad buyers into the YouTube world and cross sell with YouTube and for Hulu it's to support/prop up ESPN," he says.
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