Sling TV's Roger Lynch once again takes down Dish's core business, calls pay-TV 'unsustainable'

His streaming service may be owned by one of the biggest pay-TV operators in North America, but Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch continues to take shots at traditional pay-TV services.

Speaking at the IBC trade show in Amsterdam last week, Lynch said, "[If you] look at pay-TV subscription behavior, it's clear that the current model is not sustainable, at least not if you want to grow pay TV."

He noted that penetration of traditional pay-TV services in the U.S. has dropped from 89 percent five years ago to 80 percent today.

"You haven't seen that decline in the overall numbers of pay-TV subscribers yet, because there's been a lot of new household fomentation and growth in the US that's masked it, but just in the second quarter alone this year in the US, the industry lost 625,000 subscribers," he said.

Lynch's analysis isn't necessarily maverick or scathing -- it jibes with the takes of most media analysts, who generally agree that pay-TV's huge subscriber losses in the second quarter are a forbidding harbinger. 

However, it's notable that a top executive for a unit of Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) -- which still services around 14 million traditional satellite TV homes -- continues to publicly assail core pay-TV services. 

In January, as Dish was introducing its $20-a-month over-the-top service, Lynch said, "Pay-TV is a saturated market, and frankly a declining one."

These comments have yet to stir rancor amid Dish shareholders, but that could change. In early August, when Dish reported 84,000 lost subscribers, MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett was among those who speculated that the attrition would have been a lot higher had Dish not included Sling's fast-growing customer base in its subscriber numbers. In fact, Nathanson said the loss could have been as high as 187,000 if new Sling customers weren't factored in

Some analysts are beginning to wonder how many of Sling's new customers are coming from the ranks of the core satellite service, who are migrating over to the lower-margin Sling TV product. 

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