Sling TV finished the fourth quarter and 2020 in general with 2.47 million subscribers. While an increase on the previous quarter, Sling TV finished the year with less subscribers than it started 2020 with.
Sling TV was one of the original live TV streaming services to launch and since then, it has managed to maintain its user base. However, in spite of remaining cheaper than most of the competition, the service’s rate of growth has slowed massively in recent quarters.
Dish Network released its fourth quarter and annual earnings confirming 2.47 million subscribers as of December 31, 2020. This was in addition to 8.82 million Dish TV subscribers, resulting in a total of 11.29 million pay-TV subscribers overall. Sling TV closed the previous quarter with 2.46 million subscribers. Therefore, while technically up quarter over quarter, the difference is largely negligible. What’s more notably is the change year over year.
At the end of 2019, Sling TV had 2.59 million subscribers. Furthermore, that was on the receiving end of a decline, considering the service closed out the previous Q3 2019 with 2.69 million subscribers. When looking at the difference between the end of 2019 and 2020, Sling TV has dropped from 2.59 to 2.46 million subscribers.
Too much competition?
2020 was a significant year for live TV streaming. Due to the general upward trend in cord cutting, as well as the effects of the pandemic, streaming services were in high demand. In 2020, YouTube confirmed that it had reached three million subscribers while Hulu climbed over the four million marker in the same year.
Last year also saw PlayStation Vue close and AT&T TV Now seeing subscriber declines every quarter. So while Hulu and YouTube continued to attract new users, there were many still available. Not to mention, Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV have also both incurred price increases in 2020, taking the cost of a base subscription to $65 per month. At almost twice the price, it would seem likely that Sling TV would be a popular option for anyone looking for an affordable live TV subscription.
While it remains to be seen exactly why Sling TV has not seen any subscriber growth in 2020, it has managed to maintain the majority of its subscriber base and that’s important in itself. With Sling TV having already implemented a 2021 price rise, the next quarterly results may act as an indicator of whether the service will see a return to subscriber growth this year or continue to just maintain its subscriber base.