Dish bundles in Netflix's ad tier… if subs make a two-year commitment

Looking to keep churn in check and maybe attract some subs, Dish is pitching Netflix's ad-supported tier to satellite TV subs for no additional cost. Dish is also offering discounts on Netflix's pair of ad-free streaming plans.

Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor

June 26, 2024

3 Min Read
Dish plus Netflix bundle art
(Source: Dish/EchoStar)

Dish is following a broader industry trend by bundling in a subscription streaming service – in this case, Netflix's ad-supported tier – for no additional cost. The catch for this limited-time promotion is that it's limited to new and existing Dish satellite TV subs who make a two-year commitment.

Netflix's Standard with Ads tier regularly sells for $6.99 per month and supports streaming on up to two devices at the same time in HD quality and the ability to download titles on two supported devices.

Dish is also extending discounts on Netflix's pricier tiers to satellite TV subs who likewise make a two-year commitment with an early termination fee:

  • Netflix Standard (ad-free with support for HD and streaming on two devices at the same time and downloads on two supported devices) for $8.50 per month, a discount from the regular retail price of $15.49.

  • Netflix Premium (ad-free with support for 4K and spatial audio, streaming on up to four devices at the same time and downloads on six supported devices) for $16 per month, down from the regular price of $22.99 per month.

After the two-year period, Dish satellite TV subs will pay the regular retail price.

Per the fine print, the Netflix bundle works with a set of Dish receivers: the Hopper 3, Hopper Duo and the Wally.

Dish's new bundle arrives as the company looks to stabilize subscriber losses. In Q1 2024, the company shed 213,000 satellite TV subs, ending the period with 6.26 million. Sling TV, Dish's skinny bundle streaming option, lost 135,000 subs in the period, lowering its total to 1.92 million.

With the Netflix bundle, Dish is heading down a path being traveled by other pay-TV providers that are figuring out ways to combine streaming with their traditional packages.

A recent example is Comcast's "StreamSaver," which currently offers Apple TV+ and the ad-supported tiers of Netflix and Peacock for $15 per month – about 35% off what it would cost to subscribe to those services à la carte.

Meanwhile, Verizon is focused on +play, a streaming subscription marketplace that features access to several services, including Netflix, AMC+, Max and Paramount+.

Update: Amid a brand refresh that includes an updated logo, Verizon on Wednesday announced the launch of "myHome," a plan that enables customers to select "content perks" from a mix of streaming services, including Netflix and Max (with ads), the Disney bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ and YouTube Premium, for $10 per month. The launch follows Verizon's launch of its customizable "myPlan" offering for mobile customers.

Bundling in streaming services is also a core component of Charter Communications' new, multi-year distribution deals with Disney and Paramount Global.

Fixating on loyalty and engagement

Speaking Tuesday at the Stream TV Show in Denver, Gary Schanman, EVP and group president of video services for Dish TV and Sling TV, acknowledged that the company's video business is under pressure.

He said boosting loyalty and engagement is a priority these days as Dish expands access to features such as voice remotes and looks to extend user experience enhancements across both Dish and Sling TV amid the company's relatively recent move to combine the IT, software development and customer experience teams.

He noted that Dish is also using AI and machine language technologies across both services. On the Dish side, the company is exploring new models underpinned by AI that can help predict the actions of customers who are currently on contracts, with the goal of lowering churn.

That's a bit more challenging for Sling TV because those customers are not on contracts and can come in and out of the service month-to-month. But Sling TV is using "Freestream," a free, ad-supported streaming television (FAST) service launched more than a year ago, to keep viewers engaged when they are subscribers or non-subscribers to Sling TV.

Schanman said more than 60% of Sling TV's paid base engages with the service's FAST content.

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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