Widely known as the cheapest means of subscribing to ESPN since it launched three and a half years ago, Dish Network’s virtual pay TV service, Sling TV, has upped its base price by $5 to $25 a month.
“Programming fees … only go in one direction, and that’s up!” said Sling TV programming chief Warren Schlichting, in a blog post announcing the price increase.
Featuring ESPN, CNN, TNT, TBS and AMC but no local broadcast channels, Sling TV’s “Orange” package has been among the cheapest virtual MVPD options, with rival services priced in the $35 to $45-per-month range.
Sling’s price point—and its early entry into the vMVPD market—have helped it amass an industry-leading subscriber base of more than 2.3 million users.
The Sling “Blue” platform, which features channels from 21st Century Fox, NBCUniversal and Viacom, is still priced at $25 a month. The price to get both Orange and Blue combined remains at $40 a month.
New “Orange” subscribers will be dinged the extra $5 immediately. Existing subscribers won’t feel the pain until their August bill.
Undoubtedly planning for defections, Sling TV simultaneously announced the debut of a new free programming platform—with a la carte subscription options—available only on Roku to those who have ditched the Sling pay TV platform.
The Sling TV app will now include a “Watch Now” feature that lets these former subscribers watch more than 100 hours of on-demand programming, including Turner Networks series "Wrecked," "The Detour," "Good Behavior.”
Watch Now users can pay actual money, meanwhile, to subscribe to a la carte channels, which include Showtime ($10 a month), Stingray Karaoke ($7), Dove Channel ($5), Outside TV Features ($5), Up Faith & Family ($5), Pantaya ($6) and NBA League Pass ($28.99).
"When we first launched Sling in 2015, we set out to create an entertainment experience that put our customers first, offering unprecedented flexibility and control—no annual contracts, no hidden fees and the ability to customize programming," said Warren Schlichting, president of Sling TV. "The new Sling evolves the experience even further by providing access to great content without anchoring customers to a base subscription."