Sling TV pitches deep discount to nab new subs

Sling TV, the Dish Network-owned OTT-TV service, is pitching a deep one-month discount, along with access to its premium-level cloud DVR offering.

Under a promotion announced Tuesday that's a clear bid to attract new customers, Sling TV is offering the first month of service for $10 per month. It's also including DVR Plus, a cloud DVR with 200 hours of storage that regularly sells for an additional $5 per month. By comparison, Sling TV's free, standard cloud DVR service supplies 50 hours of recording space.

The promo applies to both the Sling Orange and Sling Blue packages, which typically sell for $35 per month each. Sling TV is also bundling Orange and Blue together for $25 for the first month.

Sling TV has not set an end date for this particular promotion.

Sling TV added 16,000 subs in the fourth quarter of 2020, extending its grand total to 2.47 million. But it was clear that the company thought it should have done much better as consumers continue to flee traditional pay-TV services for streaming options. Traditional pay-TV providers lost 1.35 million customers in Q4 2020, a number partially offset by a gain of 498,000 by a group of virtual multichannel video programming distributors (vMVPD) that includes Sling TV, FuboTV, AT&T TV, Vidgo, Philo, Hulu and YouTube TV.

"We should have more market share there," Charlie Ergen, Dish's chairman, said on the company's Q4 call in February. At the time, Ergen was hopeful that an expanded VoD library (to about 15,000 titles) and the addition of a free cloud DVR feature would help drive bigger numbers in the first half of 2021.

Sling TV's customer acquisition push also enters the frame as other vMVPDs make moves of their own. Among them, T-Mobile, which will shut down its own TVision streaming packages on April 29, has partnered with YouTube TV and Philo. In addition to cutting $10 off YouTube TV's regular baseline price of $64.99 per month, T-Mobile is offering Philo, a sports-free streaming TV service, for just $10 per month – 50% off its regular price.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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