DISH’s service, called Sling TV, offers customers $20-a-month option for a limited batch of channels. It is the first real bundle of TV available online without a cable subscription, and includes ESPN an important channel for its live and exclusive sports content. The service will be available in the first quarter of 2015, the company said.
DISH had reportedly been in talks with various content companies for rights to build a standalone streaming television package. Until now, most streaming TV had only been available to customers that had a preexisting cable subscription. Now, cord cutters will be able to subscribe to DISH’s new offering — called Sling TV — without paying for a cable package. The package also includes TNT, TBS, CNN, Food Network, the Travel Channel, HGTV, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, ABC Family and CNN.
The service will be available on some connected devices including Roku box, the Kindle Fire TV and some Smart TVs, but not on the Apple TV. Re/code’s story was confirmed by DISH via press release.
“Sling TV provides a viable alternative for live television to the millennial audience,” said Joseph P. Clayton, DISH CEO, in the press release. “This service gives millions of consumers a new consideration for pay-TV; Sling TV fills a void for an underserved audience.”
Sling TV will also include add-on programming for $5 per month, including a “kids Extra” with channels like Disney Junior, a “News & Info Extra) with HLN and Bloomberg TV and a “Sports Extra,” the channels of which were not named. DISH said more channels will be added throughout 2015. Sling TV will not include broadcast channels.
On the other hand, many analysts and industry watchers have pointed out that a la carte offerings can add up fast. If a customer was to go for Sling TV ($20/month) plus HBO Go’s upcoming online offer (let’s say $15/month), plus Netflix ($9/month) and Hulu ($8/month), the bill comes to about $52.
Still, the introduction of such a deal — and the willingness of companies like ESPN to agree to terms for the rights — indicates growing momentum for the cord-cutting crowd. In 2014, HBO and Showtime both announced upcoming streaming services, as did CBS — the first broadcaster to do so. Now, only five days into 2015, customers have an option that had previously only been theorized as happening some day. Read more…