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Can Dish’s Sling TV Compete with AT&T’s DIRECTV NOW?

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Sling TV versus DIRECTV NOW

Dish Network (DISH) impressed investors after posting a solid Sling TV subscriber base of more than 2.2 million in 2017. Dish’s Sling TV’s customer base in 2017 was more than double the subscriber base of rival AT&T’s (T) DIRECTV NOW. In 2017, AT&T’s Internet streaming service provider DIRECTV NOW reported a subscriber base of over 1.0 million.

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Declining growth of Sling TV

Sling TV’s customer base increased 47.3% year-over-year (or YoY) in 2017 from 1.5 million subscribers in 2016. Sling TV reached a remarkable customer base of more than 2.2 million in 2017 by adding nearly 711,000 customers. 

However, the growth of Dish’s online video streaming service slowed down in 2017 from net additions of 878,000 customers in 2016. The company witnessed strong Sling TV growth in 2016 from net additions of 526,000 customers in 2015.

The sluggish growth in Sling TV customers was mainly due to the entry of strong competitors such as DIRECTV NOW, Hulu Live, and Alphabet’s (GOOGL) YouTube TV. Both Hulu Live and YouTube TV, which launched in 2017, give fierce competition to Sling TV and DIRECTV NOW, as their services are integrated with technology.

Dish Network has been witnessing a decline in its overall subscriber count in the past three years. While Sling TV’s Internet streaming services have been adding to the customer base, a decrease in gross additions to its Dish TV services has led to subscriber losses.

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