How Dish Network’s Sling TV Was Affected by AT&T’s DirecTV Now



Launch of DirecTV Now and its effect on Sling TV

Dish Network’s (DISH) Sling TV has been a great success. The company doesn’t break down its Sling TV subscriber numbers, but it includes them as part of its pay-TV subscriber base. Dish said at its fiscal 2016 earnings call that over the medium to long term, it expects the trend of OTT (over-the-top) services to accelerate compared to the pay-TV business.

Dish was asked at its fiscal 2016 earnings call about how the launch of AT&T’s (T) DirecTV Now in 4Q16 affected Sling TV. Dish said that while the launch of DirecTV Now expanded the OTT market, the company didn’t see any adverse effect on its Sling TV subscriber base.

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AT&T and DirecTV Now

The launch of DirecTV Now and its promotional pricing saw strong initial adoption. AT&T also reported approximately 200,000 video net additions, driven entirely by DIRECTV Now in the service’s first month. AT&T is increasingly focusing on DirecTV Now service since its pay-TV business is facing subscriber losses.

In 4Q16, AT&T gained 235,000 satellite video subscribers but lost 262,000 U-Verse video subscribers, a net loss of US pay-TV subscribers. Over the last few quarters, AT&T has been experiencing subscriber losses in the US pay-TV market. It attributed this trend in customer acquisitions in the video component to its focus on satellite TV customers after its acquisition of DirecTV.

But it has been a rocky launch for DirecTV Now with subscribers complaining about technical glitches.


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