Executives of DISH Network this week announced the debut of a new online video streaming service, known as Sling TV, which provides subscribers with a package of live and ondemand programming at a rate of $20 per month.
DISH’s new SlingTV service (which is distinct from Sling Media, the producer of the “Slingbox” streaming device owned by DISH affiliate EchoStar) is the latest entry in the growing online video streaming market where Netflix, Hulu and Amazon are viewed as the top competitors and whose audience consists primarily of young adult “cord cutters” and “cord nevers” in the 1835 age range. Stressing that SlingTV will have little, if any impact on DISH Network’s longstanding direct broadcast satellite subscription model, DISH CEO Joseph Clayton informed a press gathering that SlingTV will be targeted to young adults who shun traditional cable and satellite TV subscriptions. Subscribers will be able to access SlingTV on a variety of wireless devices that include smart phones and tablet PCs as well as on desktop PCs and gaming consoles such as Microsoft’s Xbox. No contract, credit check, or equipment installation will be required for the service, and subscribers will have the right to cancel their subscriptions at any time. Although the major broadcast networks will not be carried on SlingTV, popular cable channels such as ESPN, CNN, TNT, and the Food Network are included in the channel package, along with web videos from Maker Studios, a top producer of programming for YouTube.
Given DISH Chairman Charlie Ergen’s acknowledgment in November 2013 that he went “0 for 50” in negotiations with content company executives on program streaming terms, observers believe SlingTV’s debut may signal a new receptiveness among programmers to the concept of having their content streamed online. Declaring, “we are innovators” and “we are disrupters,” Clayton heralded SlingTV as “the launch of a whole new industry.”