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Strategy Analytics: mobile essential for live TV services

Mobile screens are “essential for live TV services” thanks to improved displays, faster mobile connection speeds and more generous data plans, according to Strategy Analytics.

In a research report, the firm said that smartphones should be prioritised as an alternative screen to consume live TV services – not just a device for accessing content ‘on the go.’

The report comes after Sling TV announced in February it now has 2.21 million subscribers, more than any other dedicated live TV streaming service in the US, according to Strategy Analytics, with DirecTV Now the closest rival at 1.2 million subscribers.

However, Strategy Analytics stressed that the user experience is important in determining future growth, with other services like Hulu and YouTube – which now also offer live TV streaming services in the US – benefitting from already having popular mobile apps.

“Sling TV is losing to a much bigger competitor, Hulu, mainly because of Hulu’s SVOD catalogue and history,” said Chris Dodge, Strategy Analytics’ associate director of user experience strategies. “Hulu has also incorporated their new live streaming TV service into their existing mobile app, thus enabling them to gather a different wave of subscribers from their existing, large subscriber base.”

“What really helps to drive mobile usage from YouTube, Hulu, and to a lesser extent DirecTV, are their existing dedicated mobile apps. Both Hulu and YouTube have very prominent mobile apps which are optimised for mobile viewing.”

Chris Schreiner, Strategy Analytics’ director of syndicated research added: “DirecTV as a traditional pay TV service provided a mobile app allowing users to view their DVR and live TV content remotely. However, like YouTube TV, DirecTV built their new live TV streaming app outside of their pre-existing popular app. Building from within like Hulu will be key for live TV services such as Sling TV to generate a stronger mobile presence and ramp up their subscriber base.”