Building on its core Sling TV package (now called Best of Live TV), Dish announced today that's its adding the AMC and IFC channels to its $20-per-month OTT video service. The company is also launching a new add-on pack called "Hollywood Extra" featuring content from EPIX networks and Sundance TV for an additional $5 per month.
The appeal of Sling TV is that it delivers a skinny bundle of content to broadband users for a reasonably low monthly fee. Formally launched last month with a basic line-up of 20 channels, it offers a dramatic break from the traditional pay-TV bundles of hundreds of channels that relatively few viewers watch.
However, that skinny Sling TV bundle is bulking up nicely now that the Internet video service includes not only top sports, news, kids and home improvement programming, but also more scripted entertainment content from AMC Networks Inc. Plus, the new OTT now offers fresh options for adding premium movie channels. (See Sling TV – Like Pay-TV, but Skinnier.)
Ironically, Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) Chairman (and soon-to-be CEO again) Charlie Ergen has downplayed the notion that Sling TV is disruptive to the pay-TV market. Calling it an incremental business for Dish, Ergen has suggested that Sling TV is primarily a way to target audiences that wouldn't otherwise buy a traditional pay-TV subscription service. Unfortunately for Ergen, traditional video customers are draining away, which means that Dish could find itself replacing higher-paying subscribers with users who only pony up $20 per month. (See Dish Sheds Subs, Changes Up CEO.)
Getting back to today's news, not only is Sling TV gaining more live video networks in the immediate term, but Dish says that additional video-on-demand content for AMC, IFC, EPIX and Sundance TV will be available soon.
— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading