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Sling TV Adds 65K Subscribers in Q2 2021 to Reach 2.439 Million Subscribers, A Big Improvement From Last Year

Michael King

After losing 100K subscribers in Q1 2021, Sling TV added 65K subscribers in Q2 2021. This is a big improvement from the 56K subscribers they lost in the second quarter last year. In total, the company now has 2.439 million subscribers, which is up from the 2.255 million they had at end of Q2 2020, but up from the nearly 2.6 million they had at the end of 2019.

Their parent, Dish Network, in total lost 130K Pay-TV subscribers, which was down from the 40K they lost in Q2 2020.

Sling says that the growth in subscribers was because of an “emphasis on improved streaming performance and enhanced customer segmentation and targeting, leading to the acquisition and retention of more high quality subscribers, and higher Sling TV subscriber activation.”

In comparison, the largest, Hulu Live TV ($65), announced that they had 3.8 million subscribers as the end of March, which was ahead of YouTube TV with 3 million subscribers in Q3 2020 (Alphabet hasn’t updated subscriber counts), Philo with 800K, AT&T TV with 646K subscribers (as of their final report in Q4 2020), and fuboTV with 548K subscribers in March.

In January, Sling TV raised prices for new subscribers to $35 a month, while including a 50 Hour DVR. They have expanded this price increase to existing subscribers starting with their first bill in August.

In June, Sling TV began rolling out an overhauled interface which focuses on simpler navigation, better personalization, an improved grid guide, and easier access to your content. Following the launch on Roku and Amazon Fire TV, it will come others like Apple TV and Android TV later this year.

Sling TV has begun to integrate Locast into their grid guide on various platforms, bringing access to local channels in 36 markets covering about television viewers in about half of the nation through a single interface. Sling TV has rolled out this feature on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, including the Air TV Mini, and iOS and Android mobile devices earlier this year.

Locast, the donation-supported streaming service, includes ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, The CW, PBS, and others.  While the service is technically free, it is more or less unusable unless you donate $5.50 monthly for access to your channels. Without a donation, your stream stops every 15 minutes.

One of the primary ways that Sling TV keeps costs down is by not including local affiliates, which cost $15-20 a month to other services.

Sling TV’s channels are now more fully integrated into Google TV, including Chromecast with Google TV, making it easier and more convenient to browse, discover and enjoy live news, entertainment, and sports content than ever before.

This feature adds Sling’s channel line-up under the “Live” tab on Google TV. While Chromecast with Google TV, launched last fall, until now, only YouTube TV was available under the “Live” tab.

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