The DISH-owned streaming service Sling TV ended Q4 2022 with a loss of 77,000 subscribers, marking a significant decline in subscribers for the entire year.
Sling TV now has a total of 2.33 million subscribers, down from 2.41 million in the previous quarter, as revealed in an SEC filing on January 17. Sling TV briefly increased its subscriber base in Q3 2022, but with its current subscriber base and 2.33 million subscribers, it now seems as though it is stuck in 2018. 2.49 million people were watching the live TV streamer in the fourth quarter of 2021.
The recent price increase and increased competition are probably to blame for the decline in subscribers. Plans for Sling TV have increased by $5. Currently, Sling Orange and Sling Blue each cost $40 per month, while Sling Orange + Blue as a package costs $55 per month. Customers primarily switch to live TV streaming services because they no longer have to pay exorbitant cable prices. However, it appears that no one is immune to the high costs of live TV.
It’s also possible that some customers ended their subscriptions when, due to a carriage dispute, 17 Disney-owned channels briefly vanished from Sling TV in October 2022. ABC, Disney Channel, ESPN, FX, Freeform, and National Geographic were among the channels that were restored two days later. It’s possible that some customers never renewed their subscriptions, though.
9.75 million people subscribe to pay TV services overall, of which 7.41 million use Dish TV, according to the company’s SEC filing. An estimated 200,000 Dish TV subscribers canceled.
Financials for the company have not yet been reported; they will be in its official fourth-quarter earnings report (no release date has been announced).
Sling TV, however, is optimistic that 2023 will be a fruitful year for the streaming service. Sling TV President Gary Schanman alluded to the possibility of a free offering in a recent interview with TechCrunch, which might help to increase its audience.
“Free is a component of our ideas about how we view that interaction with the customer. We want a long-lasting relationship with the subscriber, one in which they value the services we offer, and [free content] is a part of that, according to Schanman.
Although it’s unclear exactly what Sling TV has in store, there’s no doubt that more customers would sign up for the service if it offered free streaming options. Additionally, it would give Sling TV a better chance to compete against other paid-for services like Roku, Freevee, Pluto TV, Xumo, and Plex. The most recent company to test out a free, ad-supported TV channel service was YouTube.
Additionally, Sling TV recently debuted brand-new functions like user profiles and a Sports Scores feature.