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Sling TV Group President Says Direct-to-Consumer Business Creates Tension For Media Companies

Stephanie Sengwe

It is no secret that original content has been useful in customer acquisition and retention for a lot of streaming services. Every service that has launched over the course of the last year—Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, and Peacock—has leveraged new and exclusive programming on their platforms.

With all these services doing fairly well, it begs the question of whether or not content aggregating platforms such as Sling TV will become obsolete in the future, when services such as Peacock can offer the live offerings leveraged by Sling, as well as original content.

During his keynote at FierceVideo’s StreamTV Show virtual conference this morning, Sling TV EVP and Group President, Michael Schwimmer revealed that the content creation business can be complicated and that Sling TV will not be going that route.

“If you’re in the content creation business, [you can’t create] just one ‘Mandalorian.’ You have to do it day after day, year after year and just have a ton of great content to keep people coming back and paying that monthly subscription fee. That’s not the business we’re in,” Schwimmer explained.

“The fact that, that content is being created by companies we do business with on the linear side does create some tension. I don’t think any of those companies today would say they’re ready to walk away from linear content and linear subscribers and all of the viewership and revenue they present. [Those companies] have a delicate balance, a tightrope to walk as they drive their direct-to-consumer business and try to maintain solid relationships and connections with their current set of consumers and business partners.”

It seems their business model is working as Sling TV recently reported that they added 203K subscribers in Q3 2020, leaving them 2.458 million subscribers.

In September, Sling TV added NFL Network and NFL RedZone back to their channel line-up, which helped boost subscribers in the quarter, after recording a 56,000 subscriber loss in Q2 2020, coming down to 2.25 million subscribers.

In October, Sling TV saw the debut of Big Ten Network to their channel line-up. The channels initially returned to Dish after resolving their carriage dispute with Fox, but in December 2019, Sling TV said the channels would come to the service ahead of the 2020 college football season.

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