Sling TV’s CEO said that the launch of DirecTV Now may have obliquely helped his company gain more visibility in the marketplace, comments that follow weeks of concerted efforts by CEO Roger Lynch and Sling in the social media realm to take advantage of DirecTV Now’s launch stumbles.
“When we launched Sling TV two years ago, we expected competition to quickly enter the market and frankly are surprised it has taken this long. We feel like beneficiaries from the new entrants as it has increased awareness for these types of OTT services,” Roger Lynch, Sling TV’s CEO, told FierceOnlineVideo in a statement. “And while we expect even more competitors to join, we aren’t changing our course. Sling TV continues to be the only OTT service that provides consumers with the ability to mix and match programming. Our focus remains on our customers and continuing to improve the overall experience.”
Lynch declined to provide any metrics around Sling’s progress in the market following the November launch of AT&T’s DirecTV Now service. Based on some anecdotal evidence, the launch appeared to suffer from at least some technical stumbles, though AT&T earlier this week announced it managed to add 200,000 new DirecTV Now customers in the month following the launch of the service. (AT&T’s fourth quarter progress with its DirecTV Now customer additions sparked mixed reactions from Wall Street analysts, with some describing the 200,000 number as indicative of “a very strong take rate” while others described it as “weaker” customer additions than expected.)
For its part, Sling TV owner Dish Network doesn’t provide Sling customer numbers. Streaming Media analyst Dan Rayburn believed Sling TV amassed around 600,000 to 700,000 subs as of November. Other analysts peg the number close to 1 million customers. Deutsche Bank’s Bryan Kraft, for example, estimated the number to be at around 936,000 in November.
Nonetheless, Sling’s Lynch has engaged in a concerted effort on social media to entice disgruntled DirecTV Now customers to his company’s service. “Free trial of @Sling is your answer to this problem!” reads one of more than a hundred tweets from Lynch to customers complaining about DirecTV Now services.
As for DirecTV Now owner AT&T, the company has said the launch of its service has gone better than expected. “Absolutely there were problems … the problems were not as big as I expected,” Enrique Rodriguez, AT&T Entertainment's CTO and the executive in charge of the technical aspects of the carrier’s newly launched DirecTV Now video streaming service, told FierceCable earlier this month. “I’m so proud of the quality we delivered.”