Dish’s Sling Seen Passing 1 Million Users in Cord-Cutting Race

  • Ranks 6th behind Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, MLB,and WWE: Parks
  • Sling has head start on rivals like AT&T, Hulu and Google

Dish Network Corp.’s Sling TV live online video service has surpassed the 1 million subscriber mark, according to a research firm that tracks streaming services, giving the satellite-television provider a head start before rivals like AT&T Inc., Hulu LLC and YouTube get into the market.

The milestone puts Sling TV ahead of Time Warner Inc.’s HBO Now in total subscribers, according to Brett Sappington, an analyst with Parks Associates, which bases its information on consumer surveys and mobile data. Dish has never disclosed Sling’s subscriber number and spokesman Bob Toevs declined to comment. Bloomberg Intelligence estimates Sling had 671,000 subscribers at the end of June.

Top 10 U.S. Streaming Services
Amazon Video (Amazon Prime)
WWE Network
Sling TV
CBS All Access
Source: Parks Associates

Starting with 20 channels for $20 in January 2015, Sling TV was the first live “skinny-bundle” TV service out of the gate, undercutting traditional cable providers by providing a smaller number of channels at a lower price. The idea was to lure people not already paying for big-bundle cable packages. The offer has expanded to additional tiers with about 50 channels for $40.

The service has been slow to take off, in part because of stumbles including a service disruption during the men’s college basketball Final Four series that prevented subscribers from seeing some of the games. The outage was blamed on capacity constraints that have been addressed, Sling TV Chief Executive Officer Roger Lynch has said.

“When it was first launched, most were expecting they could get to 2 million within two years,” said Amy Yong, an analyst with Macquarie Capital USA Inc. “They’ve had a few glitches along the way, which reset expectations, so 1 million is definitely encouraging.”

Sling TV is ranked sixth among over-the-top internet video subscription services in the U.S., according to a Parks Associates report Wednesday.

AT&T, which is buying Time Warner Inc., said Tuesday it will start its own online bundle, DirecTV Now, next month, featuring more than 100 channels for $35. 

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