Dish Network’s Sling TV is the latest virtual pay-TV provider to raise rates: The over-the-top service’s Sling Orange and Sling Blue base services are each increasing by $5 per month, to $35/month — a 17% increase — and Sling announced rate hikes for add-on packages.
Sling said prices for existing customers will not change until July 2021, if their existing subscriptions remain active. New customers can also subscribe to both Sling Orange and Sling Blue for $50 per month (which also is increasing $5 per month). The main differences between the two packages is that Sling Blue includes Fox and NBC networks, while Sling Orange includes Disney and ESPN channels.
Dish last raised prices for Sling TV in December 2019. The latest hike for Sling TV comes after Hulu raised prices for its live TV bundles by $10 monthly last November, with the baseline package going up to $64.99 per month. YouTube TV last June upped its pricing by 30%, also to $64.99 per month.
“Unfortunately, we are forced to raise prices because the television networks keep charging us more, but we fight hard to get the best deal for our customers,” Michael Schwimmer, group president of Sling TV at Dish, said in a statement. He insisted that Sling TV “is still the best deal in the market, keeping our prices much lower than cable and other live streaming services,” although its Blue and Orange packages carry fewer channels than rivals.
In the third quarter of 2020, Dish lost 87,000 net satellite TV subscribers and gained about 203,000 net Sling TV subscribers. As of Sept. 30, 2020, Dish had 11.423 million pay-TV subscribers, comprising 8.965 million Dish TV satellite subscribers and 2.458 million Sling TV subscribers. The Q3 growth for Sling TV came after it lost 337,000 subs in the first half of 2020 (281,000 in Q1 and 56,000 in Q2).
In tandem with the price hike, Sling announced that all customers now receive 50 hours of free DVR storage, up from 10 free storage hours. The DVR Plus option now provides 200 hours — up from 50 hours — of DVR storage for an additional $5 per month, and can be added on to any Sling TV base subscription. All existing DVR Plus customers will automatically receive 200 hours in their storage, starting today. Users can keep recordings as long as they choose, with no expiration.
Sling TV also announced rate hikes for add-on packages:
- Sports Extra: New customers with Sling Orange or Sling Blue will now pay $11 per month (an increase of $1 per month); new customers who subscribe to both Sling Orange and Sling Blue will continue to pay $15 per month.
- All other Extras: New customers who subscribe to Comedy Extra, Kids Extra, News Extra, Lifestyle Extra, Hollywood Extra and/or Heartland Extra, will now pay $6 per month for each package (an increase of $1 per month).
- Total TV Deal: New customers who want all the programming Sling TV has to offer can now subscribe to the Total TV Deal for $21 per month with a Sling Orange or Sling Blue service (an increase of $1 per month), or $27 per month for new customers subscribed to both Sling Orange and Sling Blue (an increase of $2 per month). The Total TV Deal provides customers with DVR Plus and all seven Sling TV Extras (Sports Extra, Comedy Extra, Kids Extra, News Extra, Lifestyle Extra, Hollywood Extra and Heartland Extra), a value of up to $56 per month.
All Sling Orange and Sling Blue customers will receive a free preview of Sling TV’s “4 Extras Deal” through Feb. 15, 2021. The 4 Extras Deal provides customers with Kids Extra, News Extra, Lifestyle Extra and Comedy Extra for $12 per month (a savings of $12 per month if purchased separately).
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