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Sling TV subscriber base continues to fall, losing more than 75,000 subscribers in Q4 • TechCrunch

Sling TV, the streaming service owned by DISH, ended the year with a significant drop in subscribers, ending the fourth quarter of 2022 with a loss of 77,000 subscribers.

As reported in a SEC filing as of Jan. 17, Sling TV now has a total of 2.33 million subscribers 2.41 million in the previous quarter. While the company temporarily gained subscribers in the third quarter of 2022, Sling TV now appears to be stuck in 2018 with its current subscriber base, when it also had 2.33 million subscribers. In the fourth quarter of 2021, the live TV streamer had 2.49 million.

The decline in subscribers is likely due to the recent price increase and increased competition. Sling TV increased its plans by $5. Sling Orange and Sling Blue now cost $40/month each, while the bundle (Sling Orange + Blue) costs $55/month. The number one reason customers switch to live TV streaming services is so they don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for cable anymore. However, it seems that no one can escape the high prices of live TV.

It is also possible that some customers have canceled their subscription when 17 channels owned by Disney briefly disappeared from Sling TV due to a carriage dispute in October 2022. The channels including ABC, Disney Channel, ESPN, FX, Freeform and National Geographic were restored two days later. However, some customers may never resubscribe.

Dish reported in the SEC filing that it has a total of 9.75 million pay TV subscribers, with 7.41 million customers subscribing to Dish TV, the satellite service. Dish TV lost about 200,000 subscribers.

The company has yet to report its financials, which will be revealed in its official fourth-quarter earnings report (no release date has been announced).

However, Sling TV is confident that 2023 will be a promising year for the streamer. In a recent interview with TechCrunch, Sling TV president Gary Schanman hinted at the possibility of a free offer that could help boost his audience.

“Free is part of our thinking about how we think about that engagement with the customer. We want a lifetime relationship with the subscriber where they see value in what we offer – and [free content is] a piece of that,” Schanman said.

While it’s unclear exactly what Sling TV has in store, there’s no doubt more customers would flock to the service if the company offered free streaming options. It would also put Sling TV in better competition with free ad-supported services like Roku, Freevee, Pluto TV, Xumo, and Plex. YouTube was the latest company to experiment with offering ad-free TV channels.

Sling TV also just launched new features such as user profiles and a sports scores feature.

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