Sling TV is the online television service from Dish, which is expected to be a good alternative to the costly cable and satellite TV services. However, even 18 months after the release of the service, it has attracted only less than a million users.
This is a very slow growth rate, but the future of internet television is bright. This is because people may not pay for the different channels that are offered by the conventional television packages. With Sling TV, they need to pay just twenty dollars a month to watch popular cable channels online.
The quarterly earnings report by Dish shows a slowdown in online TV sign ups. “It’s more like a momentary slowdown,” said Evan Neufeld of research firm L2. “The tide is coming. But you’ve got to crawl before you can run.”
Dish Network introduced Sling TV in 2015 to attract viewers who are not subscribed to any satellite or cable TV alternatives. The introduction of the service by Dish Network is an acknowledgment of the fact that the habits of viewers, especially the youth, are shifting to online sources.
Television industry refers viewers who leave pay TV services as ‘cord cutters’, but latest reports says that there are many ‘cord nevers’ in the country as well – who have never signed up for pay TV services. And then, there are the ‘cord shavers’, who cut some of the channels in their current package to cut down subscription charges. Internet television services will also focus on ‘cord nevers’ and ‘cord shavers’ to increase their user base.
Dish Network has declined to provide any details of their online-only users for Sling TV, but experts believe that it is under a million. Such numbers aren’t enough to “turn the pay TV market on its ear,” said Brett Sappington, senior director of research for Parks Associates.
Dish Network reported a loss of 281,000 users for the satellite services in last quarter, despite of a decrease in the number of cord cutters in general. The earnings report of Dish revealed weaknesses in the satellite TV services and they believe that streaming services could take advantage of this.