Sling TV plans to maintain price advantage ‘well into foreseeable future’

Michael Schwimmer, group president at Sling TV, spoke with Digiday's Tim Peterson Tuesday during The StreamTV Show. (The StreamTV Show)

Sling TV has managed to keep its monthly rates much lower than competitors like YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV and Group President Michael Schwimmer doesn’t see that going away.

Another wave of consolidation is hitting the streaming video industry as Discovery and WarnerMedia prepare to combine their media and entertainment businesses. But Sling TV doesn’t seem worried that the increased leverage gained through the deal will impact its ability to keep prices relatively low.

“We’ve been through a number of renewals since [Sling TV] started in 2015. We’re still basically half the price of our nearest real competitor. So, it doesn’t mean we don’t have upward pressure from a programming cost perspective. But I’m pretty confident that we will remain the low-cost provider for well into the foreseeable future,” Schwimmer said during a keynote interview at The StreamTV Show.

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Sling TV currently offers Blue and Orange channel packages that start at $35 per month each while YouTube TV, fuboTV and Hulu + Live TV have all raised their introductory rates to $65 per month. Philo, a vMVPD that focuses on entertainment channels, raised its rates for the first time in more than three years earlier this month.

Most of the price increases have been attributed at least partly to rising programming costs. Sling TV has had to pay out more for programming like other MVPDs and virtual MVPDs and the service certainly hasn’t been immune to price increases. Schwimmer said it’s likely that Sling TV will have to raise prices again in the future.

“I would suggest that we’ll be required to raise prices over time, but it’s relative to legacy pay TV, it’s relative to our streaming competitors, and what I’m suggesting is that our price advantage is a compelling component of our value to customers,” he said. “I don’t think that’s going away any time soon.”