With more than 43 million subscribers in the United States alone, Netflix has set the bar pretty high for other streaming services. Obviously, nobody expected Dish Network’s own streaming service to come anywhere close to that number, and Dish hasn’t disclosed any official numbers, which is a bad sign by itself, but numerous estimates and reports indicate that Sling TV’s subscriber count is currently less than 500,000. That’s lackluster by any measurement, and to make things worse, the number of new people signing up for the service is reportedly shrinking.
In a regulatory filing in August of this year, DISH Network said they had 169,000 subs as of the end of March for their Sling TV live streaming service. Since then, the company has refused to say how many paid subscribers they have, their churn rate or detail any user trends around their live streaming offering. We don’t know who the average user is, how long they watch or any other key demographic details around live video consumption on the Sling TV platform. In order to operate, Sling TV relies on a host of third-party vendors and some of those companies I have spoken to, who know what Sling TV’s traffic looks like, told me the company had less than 500,000 paying subscribers at the end of October. This number would align with some of the estimates that analysts have put out in the market, pegging Sling TV’s subscriber count at around 400,000. Another detail I’ve been told about Sling TV is that the service has seen decelerating signups since they launched in the market. There was a rush of sign ups when the service first came out, but now, the growth hasn’t been that impressive. Of course, DISH won’t comment on any of this, and in interviews with the media Sling TV’s CEO says they are “happy” and “pleased” with their growth, but that’s what we would expect them to say.
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