Dish Network added approximately 203,000 new Sling TV subscribers, which helped offset net losses within its satellite TV business during the third quarter.
The company said it lost approximately 87,000 net Dish TV subscribers and ended up with about 116,000 net pay TV subscriber additions for the quarter. The company closed the quarter with 11.42 million pay TV subscribers, including 8.96 million Dish TV subscribers and 2.46 million Sling TV subscribers.
Sling TV lost subscribers for the first time in the fourth quarter and then lost some more in the first quarter of 2020. After June ended with both YouTube TV and fuboTV raising their monthly rates, Sling TV responded with a one-year price guarantee for all subscribers who signed up by August 1. The service also scored deeper integration within the Amazon Fire TV platform and a distribution deal for Comcast Xfinity Flex, the cable provider’s hardware/platform product for its broadband-only subscribers. The deal made Sling TV the first virtual MVPD to launch on the platform.
The pay TV subscriber additions for the third quarter fell short of the 148,000 Dish added in the third quarter of 2019. Sling TV’s current subscriber total is still significantly lower than the 2.69 million it had at the end of the third quarter.
Dish said the decrease in net Sling TV subscriber additions was primarily related to lower Sling TV subscriber activations, increased competition, including competition from other subscription video on-demand and live-linear OTT service providers, and delays and cancellations of sporting events as a result of COVID-19. The company said it lost approximately 134,000 net Sling TV subscribers during the first nine months of 2020 compared to the addition of approximately 269,000 net Sling TV subscribers during the same period in 2019.