Sling TV Cutting Prices Amid Increased Competition

Dish’s Sling TV service is running a promotional campaign that slashes its subscription prices by 40%. The campaign comes as subscriber growth has slowed for the streaming service, with newer competitors spending big to secure marketshare.

Sling’s promotion is tied to tax season; it offers 40% subscription prices for the first three months.

After those three months, pricing returns to normal levels. Promo pricing is $15 per month for Sling Orange or Sling Blue, or $25 per month for both. The company typically offers one free week of service, before charging its normal monthly rate.

While Sling remains the biggest virtual multichannel video provider (vMVPD) with more than 2.4 million subscribers, it only added around 205,000 subscribers in 2018. For comparison, the service added 711,000 subscribers in 2017.

That slowdown coincides with a renewed push by competitors like YouTube TV and Hulu with Live TV, not to mention startups like Philo and Fubo TV.

YouTube TV and Hulu have spent millions to sponsor sporting events like the Super Bowl pre-game show, NBA playoffs, World Series, and Stanley Cup Playoffs and drive awareness. 

At the same time, the economics of streaming bundles have been wearing on Sling and DirecTV Now, the other streaming competitor spun off from a satellite TV company. Both have raised their prices over the past year in an effort to shift toward profitability.

Executives at DirecTV parent company AT&T have said its plan is to ultimately raise the price of its streaming service to the $50 to $60 range, while offering less expensive and much skinnier content offerings alongside it.

Sling TV executives have touted their targeted advertising business, but it is unclear whether that business is ready to make up for the slower subscriber growth.

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