Dish Network today reported official numbers for its streaming television service Sling TV, which marks the first time that the company disclosed the service’s subscriber numbers separately from its traditional pay TV numbers. According to Dish, Sling TV had 2.212 million subscribers as of the end of 2017, aligning with previous estimates that the service had well over 2 million subscribers (via TechCrunch).
Sling TV was one of the first streaming TV bundles to launch, so its continued high ranking in regards to subscriber numbers makes sense. Following Sling TV remain services like DirecTV Now (1 million subscribers as of December 2017), PlayStation Vue (455,000 as of December 2017), Hulu with Live TV (450,000 as of January 2018), and YouTube TV (300,000 as of January 2018). Sling TV and PlayStation Vue launched in 2015, DirecTV Now launched in 2016, and Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV each debuted in 2017.
Dish further detailed Sling TV’s subscriber growth in its 10-K filing this week, stating the service had 623,000 subscribers in its first year on the market, then grew to 1.5 million by 2016, and 2.21 million by the end of 2017. More users switching from traditional TV bundles to streaming services are believed to be impacting Dish’s revenue, however, with its total 2017 revenue at $14.39 billion, down year-over-year from $15.21 billion. In total, 1.1 million users were reported as having dropped Dish’s pay TV bundles in 2017.
Like other streaming TV services, Sling TV allows users to choose between various tiers, with prices that start at $20/month for a small amount of channels and then increase in price as more channels are added. Sling TV is one of the cheapest services to enter with this price, while rivals like YouTube TV cost $35/month, and Hulu with Live TV and PlayStation Vue start at $39.99/month. DirecTV Now also starts at $35/month, and has an ongoing deal where new subscribers can pay for three months of service at $105 and get a 32GB Apple TV 4K for free.
Although Sling TV has been out for longer and subsequently has more robust features, some of the newer services are still in beta and testing updates that have yet to launch to a wide audience. These include DirecTV Now’s beta test of a Cloud DVR, which is now said to be coming this spring, as well as Hulu’s decision to add a more traditional channel guide for its users. Earlier in February, YouTube TV launched an app for Apple TV after delaying the initial launch from 2017.
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