vMVPD is an over the top (OTT) platform that delivers television programming through the internet that users can access from smartphones, tablets, and computers. These streaming services aggregate multiple different broadcast channels and provide users with a “skinny bundle” that they can select from. By getting rid of the need for cable providers or satellite dishes to view live TV, vMVPD has enabled convenient and flexible live TV streaming today, which is exponentially rising in popularity. Users that view programs through vMVPDs are often called “cord-cutters” as they switch from traditional cable TVs to online streaming services. Providers like YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, DirecTV Stream, and fuboTV are some of the most popular vMVPD services used today.
A skinny bundle is a term used to describe the package of live TV channels a vMVPD service provides. They are described as “skinny” because they offer a smaller number of channels at a cheaper price compared to the bulk of channel bundles that cable and satellite TV used to offer. Although there are fewer channels, most vMVPDs offer the variety of mainstream ones like ESPN, Nickelodeon, and Fox, which is more convenient than having to navigate through thousands of channels with a television remote. Most skinny bundles come in pre-selected channels, and services often offer different pricing options to add more channels depending on the user’s need. The number of channels usually ranges from 50 to 100, from sports to local channels.
Multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) came before vMVPDs, and they are also service providers that offer a bundle of live and on-demand channels to their customers. However, unlike vMVPDs which operate through the internet, MVPDs are limited to providing channels on traditional TVs using wired or wireless communication networks like AT&T and DirecTV. MVPD services are often bundled with home phone and internet services that all come from a single provider. However, as majority of TV viewers have transitioned to streaming services, many MVPD providers today also offer vMVPD and VOD services.
Many OTT providers like Hulu and YouTube have expanded their platforms in recent years by adding vMVPD services. By adding more OTT options, providers are likely to attract a wider range of users as there are more diverse selections to choose from. Users also have the option to conveniently subscribe to multiple OTT services from a single provider which boosts user engagement and potential retention rates.
With the surging popularity of VOD streaming services, traditional TV has become outdated, and consumers nowadays value the convenience of online streaming. vMVPD services condense the bulk and rigidness of traditional TV and meet the exact needs of these consumers by providing easily accessible and affordable options. Hence, vMVPD are capable of providing a high-quality user experience which can be a major contributor to increasing user retention and brand credibility.