Sling TV has more than 600,000 subscribers; adds first broadcast channel, ABC

Sling TV is continuing to pick up steam as the go-to service for cord cutters and cord nevers who still want to watch live TV.

The Wall Street Journal first reported last week that Sling TV, just a year after launching, has topped 600,000 subscribers.

When considering whether to launch Sling TV, Dish wondered if the demand for such a product would be there and who the subscriber base would be. During the Q4 earnings conference call with analysts last week, Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch answered both questions: “First, there is demand for the product. We are definitely seeing that. Secondly, the vast majority of the subscribers we are getting are not currently pay-TV subscribers. Either they have never had pay-TV because they are 25 years old and it never crossed their mind to have pay-TV, or they cut the cord sometime in the last one, two, three, four, five years ago.”

[Read our July 2015 interview with Roger Lynch.]

Analysts were particularly interested in Dish’s declining satellite TV subscriber base and the costs associated in acquiring new customers. Sling TV, as an over the top service, makes the new customer acquisition process much cheaper, but whether its growth and profitability can offset satellite TV declines is still unknown.

One thing that will help in making Sling TV a more attractive option for cord cutters and cord nevers is how quickly the service can add additional programming options, and the quality of those options.

Also revealed last week is that ABC would become the first major broadcast network to join the service (for now in select markets; soon nationall). The network will not be part of the $20-a-month base package but part of the $5-a-month “Broadcast Extra” package, which includes Univision and Uni Mas.

Not addressed in the conference call with analysts is what percentage of Sling TV subscribers are adding on “Extras” on top of the base package.

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