Sling TV has less than 500K subs and customer growth is decelerating, says analyst Rayburn

Sling TV's subscriber base stands at less than 500,000 nearly 10 months after launch, and its customer growth rate has decelerated markedly since its fast start.

Those are the conclusions of streaming media analyst Dan Rayburn, who cites data provided to him by third-party companies Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) uses to operate its Sling TV service. 

"In order to operate, Sling TV relies on a host of third-party vendors and some of those companies I have spoken to, who know what Sling TV's traffic looks like, told me the company had less than 500,000 paying subscribers at the end of October," Rayburn said on his Streaming Media blog. "This number would align with some of the estimates that analysts have put out in the market, pegging Sling TV's subscriber count at around 400,000."

Such benchmark would imply a significant slowing in Sling's growth. In the only metrics on the streaming video platform Dish has released so far, the company said in a regulatory filing that it had 169,000 Sling customers as of the end of March, about two months after launching the platform. 

"There was a rush of sign ups when the service first came out, but now, the growth hasn't been that impressive," Rayburn added.

Sling's size has been of particular interest to media analysts, not only because the service represents the first widely distributed virtual platform from a pay-TV operator, but also because Dish has been including both Sling and satellite customer acquisitions in its overall subscriber counts. 

In November, MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett estimated that Sling added around 155,000 subscribers in the third quarter, bringing its overall total to 394,000 to end the third quarter.  

Dish reps have yet to respond to FierceCable's inquiry for comment.

For more:
- read this Streaming Media post

Related articles:
Sling TV CEO comes out against Comcast's data caps
Cord-cutting reached 357K in Q3 based on huge, masked Dish losses, analyst said
Dish loses 23K subscribers in Q3; analysts suspect Sling TV helped bolster satellite TV business