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Sling President Expects vMVPD Market to Triple to 25 Million Subscribers in The Next Few Years

Jason Gurwin

At today’s Pay TV Show, Sling’s President Warren Schlichting shared his view on the vMVPD market and he’s extremely bullish. While he recognizes there has been a slowing of subscribers, he views it more of a “lull” than a correction. “I think there is going to be a tripling of the market in the next 3-5 years.” With 8 million total vMVPD subscribers to date, he feels the overall market can reach 25-35 million over the next few years.

Over the last four years, the service has gone from 14 networks with three Extra Packs, to over 700 networks including international. The biggest change for Sling TV is how they think about churn, which is why they’ve created free ad-supported options. “We don’t talk about churn in the same way anymore,” said Schlichting. “Old pay-tv, as long as someone pays you, a service provides you value, but as soon as they stop, they don’t. That’s not how it works anymore.”

And by thinking about customers being more than just subscribers, Schlichting views it as a great way to keep customers in the ecosystem. But, unlike others he views “the live linear death as being greatly exaggerated.” Almost 80% of Sling’s view is still live linear, despite the fact that they have thousands of VOD assets.

He reiterated that despite all the entries of Live TV Streaming Services like Hulu Live TV, fuboTV — that Sling TV may be the only gross margin profitable service. In terms of other skinny bundles, he thought that “when Philo came out, it was an excellent idea, but they haven’t executed.”

He thinks the long-term viability of Sling TV is it’s ability to bring everything back together in a world where everyone is trying to break everything apart. So what’s next for Sling customers? Since it’s so easy to switch, Schlichting says “what’s next has to be what the customer wants.”

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