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Sling TV’s President is a Big Believer in Their Free Offering, With Room to Grow

Stephanie Sengwe

While SVODs are all the rage, consumer demand has proven that there is also a place for AVODs in the streaming space. The success of services such as Pluto TV, Tubi and XUMO is evidence that consumers are willing to sit through a certain amount of ads in exchange for free content. The fact that big media companies such as ViacomCBS, FOX, and Comcast have shelled our mega millions to acquire these AVODs proves the point further.

During his keynote at FierceVideo’s StreamTV Show virtual conference earlier today, Sling TV EVP and Group President, Michael Schwimmer admitted that there is something to be said about the way customers gravitate towards free content and that while it’s good to reserve some programming for monthly subscribers, offering free content can be beneficial as well.

“We have learned that free TV is really popular. People are willing to watch ads, quite frankly, to not have to pay a subscription fee…Free TV is here to stay. We certainly believe in it. We have our own nascent offering, it’s certainly not at the scale of Pluto for example, but it’s not going anywhere,” Schwimmer stated.

On Sling’s own free tier, they recently added additional free streaming channels from AMC.

“Even Peacock launched with a free tier and didn’t put everything behind a pay wall so I think you’ll see more of that. Warner has talked about doing that for HBO Max. The fact of the matter is there is a lot of content that people want to watch that can be profitably put in front of the pay wall to the benefit of consumers as well as the people behind those platforms. We’re a believer, we’re part of it, but not yet at the scale other have already achieved.”

Sling TV recently reported that they added 203K subscribers in Q3 2020, leaving them 2.458 million subscribers. Last quarter, the Dish-owned streamer recorded a 56,000 subscriber loss in Q2 2020, coming down to 2.25 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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