With defections from the U.S. pay-TV market hitting an estimated 812,000 in the second quarter, Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch said his virtual MVPD service has broadened its original focus beyond the modest pool of cord-cutters and cord-nevers who were available when the service launched in February 2015.
“There are about 21 million homes without pay TV. Of those, 16 million are cord-nevers (people who have never signed up) and 5 million are cord-cutters. We were focused on those markets. What we’ve seen since then is a dramatic shift. Consumers are leaving traditional pay TV at much higher rates,” Lynch said to Associated Press.
“We see that shift as a large opportunity for us,” he added.
In recent months, Lynch and Sling TV have made a number of moves that seem to indicate a strategy of offering existing pay-TV subscribers who are thinking about ditching their service with a cheaper video programming alternative.
Sling TV has aggressively grown its bundles, adding broadcast networks including FOX and NBC, as well as national sports networks like FS1 and FS2, and regional sports channels like the Pac-12 Network. It’s also now offering a multi-stream version that lets more than one member of a household use the service at the same time.
Then there’s that national advertising campaign starring Danny Trejo, which targets cable TV in much the same way ads for Dish’s traditional satellite platform might.
Still, in talking to the AP, Lynch struck a contradictory tone, noting that Sling TV only wants to be a piece of the video services “puzzle,” complementing such elements as Netflix and OTA antennas.
“Our objective has never been to be the entire video service,” he said.
The consumption habits of Sling TV’s customers might have something to do with this mindset. Lynch said that 40 percent of the service’s customers watch it on mobile devices.
While Sling TV’s market objectives aren’t so clearly stated, the mindset among programmers is certainly changing.
“When we first started talking to programmers, there was skepticism,” Lynch said. “There was concern about whether it would cause cord-cutting. What’s happened since then, they’ve accepted it’s really the future of pay TV. Consumer behavior is changing.”
- read this Associated Press story
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