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Sling TV Adds 16K Subscribers in Q4 2020, But Lost 118K in 2020

Jeremy Milliner, Jason Gurwin

While Sling TV has seen a steady decline of subscribers in the first half of the year, they saw a slight uptick in Q4. The skinny bundle added 16K subscribers, giving them 2.474 million, as compared to 2.458 million subscribers in Q3. However, this is less than the 2.592 million they had at the end of 2019. In total, the company lost 118K subscribers in 2020, as compared to a 175K gain in 2019.

Dish Network in total lost 526K Pay-TV subscribers, including 408K Dish Network subscribers.

In September, Sling TV added NFL Network and NFL RedZone back to their channel line-up, which helped boost subscribers in the quarter.

In comparison, Disney reported that their competing service, Hulu Live TV is the largest at 4.0 million subscribers at the end of 2020. Sling is now the third largest vMVPD as YouTube TV recently said they surpassed three million subscribers in their Q3 earnings report.

Philo last reported they were at 800K subscribers in November. Last month, fuboTV ($65) reported they expect to exceed 545,000 subscribers at the end of the fourth quarter (72 percent year-over-year increase).

AT&T recently announced that AT&T TV NOW, which has since been shut down to new customers, finished the year at 656K subscribers.

Sling TV recently increased the price of Sling Orange and Sling Blue by $5 to $35 a month. At part of the price increase, they bundled a 50 Hour DVR as part of the service, which used to be a $5 add-on.

Earlier this month, Sling TV announced an integration with non-profit streaming service, Locast, which will bring locals in 29 markets to those that use their AirTV streaming device. The company plans to expand it to other Android TV based devices next – with other devices on the roadmap.

In an interview with The Streamable, Sling TV Group President, Michael Schwimmer, told us the key to reinvorgating Sling’s growth is focusing on the basics. “Beyond price, (customers) care about their programming and making sure they get the channels they they want, they care about reliability, and they care about the user experience,” said Schwimmer.

“I could talk about things like sports wagering and other new cool, innovative features, but the basics matter. We can still do better with the basics. We’re working on really improving the user experience from a number of perspectives, both what I’ll call technical quality, as well as the user experience of the app itself and making it easy to find content and easy to navigate.”

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.

In September, Sling Orange received BET and Nick Jr. (which were previously on Sling Blue and Comedy Extra). However, Sling Blue customers lost the Paramount Network, which shifted to Comedy Extra ($5 a month).

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