via The Motley Fool
by Adam Levy
July 7, 2017
Sling TV has attracted over 2 million subscribers since its debut at the beginning of 2015, according to data from Comscore. The over-the-top (OTT) live-streaming service was one of the first of its kind, paving the way for Sony’s (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation Vue and AT&T’s (NYSE:T) DIRECTV Now. Those competitors combined for just 1.1 million subscribers.
Despite the success of Sling TV, its parent company DISH Network (NASDAQ:DISH) is still bleeding subscribers. Management says Sling TV can help make up for the downward trend in subscriber count, but investors should have doubts. Nonetheless, it’s safe to say Dish would be much worse off without Sling.
Targeting a new market
Sling TV launched months before PlayStation Vue and nearly two years ahead of DIRECTV Now, but the biggest reason it’s been able to dominate the market is because it’s actually targeting a different market. Vue and DIRECTV Now are complete cable TV replacements. They even have the same tiered pricing structure as cable, for the most part.
Sling is actively targeting a different segment of the population compared to Sony and AT&T. Sling TV eschews local broadcasters, while Sony and AT&T are trying to get more to come onboard. Additionally, it offers two separate base plans of channels that give subscribers a bit more control over which channels they take, and which ones they don’t. On top of that, it has several add-on packages that subscribers can pick from.