Sling TV, the live streaming service owned by Dish, has quietly discontinued its three-day free trial for its Blue and Orange base programming packages.
The service is the latest streamer to stop offering a free trial for most new subscribers, following Netflix, Disney+ and HBO Max. With competition escalating, the streamers are increasingly concerned that consumers are using free trials to access free programming with little or no intent to subscribe.
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Sling’s Twitter customer service team confirmed this morning that the free trial is no longer available except for Latino or international packages.
“At the moment we do not have a Free Trial available for our Sling Orange or Sling Blue services,” @slinganswers told the TV Answer Man.
We asked @Slinganswers why a link in the site’s fine print at the bottom of the home page notes a 7-day free trial. The customer service team responded: “The link you provided offers a Free Trial for Latino or International services.”
The TV Answer Man has asked Sling’s communications department for an explanation on why it has stopped the free trial.
As of Monday afternoon, Sling has not responded to our inquiry. But Fierce Video reports that Sling has confirmed the free trial is no longer available at the web site. The streamer told the publication that’s it’s still on “select” devices at sign up, but it did not name those devices.
“Sling TV is always testing new offers for both subscribers and non-subscribers. While there is currently no free trial offer available through the website, there are free trials available for select on-device sign ups,” the service stated.
Sling, which launched in January 2015, used to offer a seven-day free trial, but downgraded to a three-day free offer last year. The streamer earlier this year also raised its base Blue or Orange plan from $30 a month to $35 a month. The service is now offering $10 off the first month of service for new Blue or Orange subscribers.
The $35 monthly rate is good for either Sling’s Blue or Orange basic packages. (If you order both Blue and Orange, the price is $50 a month, up from $45 a month previously.)
The Blue plan provides more than 50 channels including the three major cable news networks, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, as well as leading ‘basic cable’ networks as FS1, Bravo, The Cartoon Network, AMC, TNT, TBS, and your local Fox and NBC affiliates in select markets.
The Orange package offers more than 30 channels, but it includes ESPN, ESPN 2 and ESPN 3, which are must-haves for many sports fans. In addition, the Orange plan has CNN, Comedy Central, TBS, TNT and AMC.
The biggest difference between the two plans is that ESPN is in Orange while Blue offers more channels, Fox-owned channels and your local NBC and Fox affiliates in certain markets. (Blue also offers three simultaneous streams, meaning you can watch the Blue lineup on three different devices at the same time; Orange allows only one stream at a time.)
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— Phillip Swann