Andrew House, president and global CEO of Sony Consumer Entertainment, has big plans for PlayStation Vue.
The over-the-top streaming service for the PlayStation 4 expanded into its fourth and fifth metro areas (Los Angeles and San Francisco) on Monday – and House says it will continue its rollout to more cities this summer.
“We really want to scale the service to reach a really significant portion [of our customer base],” House told Variety.
Vue launched in March in New York, Philadelphia and Chicago, offering a variety of live TV channels to PS4 owners without a cable subscription. (The service starts at roughly $50 per month – and offers packages that range up to $70.) Subscribers gain access to a number of channels, including CBS, Fox, Turner and Discovery. (ABC and other Disney-owned channels have been notable holdouts.)
And to further spur interest in the service, Sony plans to offer cord-cutters the service they’ve longed dreamed about.
At the company’s pre-E3 press conference Monday, House announced that starting in July, the service will offer a la carte channels, letting members subscribe to select individual channels – including Showtime and Fox Soccer Plus — without purchasing a multichannel bundle.
The addition of Los Angeles and San Francisco actually came ahead of schedule for the company. But House says the service’s technology has served it well so far in the markets it has serviced previously, giving the company the confidence to move forward.
“We’re finding we have a really good backend infrastructure that’s allowing us to roll out at a good cadence,” said House, who declined to reveal subscriber totals to date.
While many PlayStation owners are hoping for a national rollout for Vue, House says that’s not in the immediate future. Part of the appeal of the service, he says, is having local programming available on your PS4 — and technical limitations in some parts of the country make it infeasible.
“I think you have to be careful about nationwide,” he said. “You’re talking about broadband availability and infrastructure. We felt for the service to be very meaningful, it needed to have local programming and local sports. How far that takes us into the more rural areas remains to be seen.”
House, though, is bullish on the service overall, saying it plays well among the PS4 hardcore gamers, who tend to devour any form of entertainment. And he cites two key advantages over basic cable.
“It addresses, really well, two basic impulses to watch TV,” he says. “One is: I know exactly what I want to watch — so how quickly can I get there and find it? I think we make that really easy to do. Simply favorite what you like and we will have it for you in the cloud. Second is: When you come home and sit on the couch and want to watch something, but you don’t know what, Vue does a pretty great job of surfacing the content that you’re paying for.”