What's happening at TVPlayer?



Turbulent times for streaming service, as it refocuses its offering.

It began with the loss of CNN and QVC. But offer the last two months, a number of channels have vanished from the streaming platform, as documented by a growing list of service updates issued by TVPlayer, which also includes the removal of its service from connected Freesat receivers.

TVPlayer began life towards the end of 2013, when, according to its first press release it became one of the most popular apps on iOS. The service rolled out across multiple platforms in 2014 and has since grown a 'freemium' business model, providing a mix of free and pay TV channels on the web, on mobile and increasingly on smart TV platforms.

Since the beginning of 2019, there have been signs that the company has been letting existing agreements with broadcasters expire as part of a pruning of its offering. Some channels, including ITV2, have changed from the free to premium tier offering, while services such as FreeSports have opted to leave the service.

High profile channels from UKTV, including Dave and GOLD have also been dropped, following a decision by UKTV to go separate ways. Following a pre-Easter announcement, it's now clear that this was due to the arrival of their own live streaming service.

But for the other channels that have gone, TVPlayer has provided a clue as to why they've been dropped.

It has confirmed it's been reviewing "actual service usage", making most of the suite of analytics tools it has at its disposal to see which channels are in demand by its viewers.

When weighed up against any charges demanded from broadcasters to carry their channels, TVPlayer is able to see if the cost outweighs the profit it can gain from subscriptions and adverts and, based on usage patterns, can see how many users would actually miss the channel if it was removed. Or, in simple terms, if the cost if carrying the channel is to great, and hardly anyone is streaming it, then it makes no sense to continue offering the service.

Accounts for TVPlayer filed at Companies House confirm the company continues to trade at a loss, following several years of capital injections to develop the business. It is easy to see therefore, why TVPlayer might want to axe any 'deadwood' channels and focus on profitability.

TVPlayer continues to offer viewers free access to the main channels, plus many pay TV channels from broadcasters including Discovery, Viacom, NBCUniversal and A+E Networks.