Dish shares Sling TV subscriber numbers for the first time

Shawn Knight

Posts: 13,425   +132
Staff member

Dish Network on Wednesday reported its fourth quarter and full-year 2017 earnings. Perhaps more importantly, Dish for the first time ever also detailed Sling TV subscriber numbers (Dish is the parent company of Sling TV).

The over-the-top (OTT) streaming service officially finished the fourth quarter with 2.212 million subscribers, validating earlier estimates that Sling TV had indeed inched past the two million user mark.

For comparison, AT&T’s DirecTV Now OTT service reached the one million subscriber mark in December 2017 and eclipsed 1.2 million users by the end of the year. Sling is also ahead of newcomers like YouTube TV and Hulu Live TV which have around 300,000+ and 450,000+ paying subscribers according to a January report from CNBC.

Dish in a Form 10-K filing dated February 21 further reveals that Sling TV had 623,000 subscribers by the end of 2015. That figure swelled to 1.5 million users by the end of 2016 and as mentioned in the lead, 2.212 million subscribers at the end of last year.

Sling TV launched in early 2015 and has continued to refine its offering over the years. OTT services like these offer customers a viable alternative to traditional pay-TV although we’re still waiting for a true a la carte option (that’ll probably never happen but a man can dream, right?).

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Posts: 6,374   +4,685
In comparison to the number of Netflix subscribers, it seems like the number of Sling subscribers is almost trivial - by percentage, it is something like two-percent of the Netflix subscribers. Is this supposed to mark the success of Sling? If it does, that success seems pale in comparison to the success of Netflix.

I wonder how this compares against traditional pay TV numbers such as Dish Network or any of the cable services.

When Sling first came out, I looked at it and for the cost, it looked like it was more expensive on a per-channel basis than Dish Network or other pay tv services. There was nothing in the service that I could not live without. For me, OTA + base Hulu + Netflix is pretty much all I need. I cannot watch all the things on these services as it is, and I pay less than the cost of Sling's base package - which contains things that I do not want or need. Therefore, I am of the same mind about Sling now as I was when it first started - no thanks!