Sling TV, the live streaming service owned by Dish, has raised its base price for new customers from $35 a month to $40 a month, effective immediately. Existing customers will see the $5 price increase in their bills starting December 3, 2022.
The live streamer, which arguably offered the best value in pay TV prior to the increase, had not raised its base price for new customers since January 2021. (Existing customers didn’t get the 2021 price hike until August 2021 due to a Sling price freeze during the Coronavirus pandemic.)
However, Sling TV says at its web site that the new price increase is necessary to keep pace with the highest inflation rate in 40 years and escalating program acquisition costs. Dish and Sling recently signed a new carriage deal to carry Disney’s 17 channels, including ESPN which has one of the highest carriage rates in the industry.
“Raising prices for our customers is not something we take lightly,” Sling TV states. “We recognize that historically high inflation is impacting our customers every day and our goal is not to be another burden to your wallet. During these challenging times, Sling will continue to deliver the lowest price combined with an industry-leading user experience, flexibility and ease to watch top channels such as CNN, ESPN, FOX News, NFL RedZone, TNT, FOX Sports 1, and many more. However, Sling doesn’t own the networks you watch — we pay programmers for their channels, and the price of programming continues to rise. We’re deeply committed to keeping costs low and continually work with programmers to provide service you can rely on, which is why we haven’t raised prices in nearly two years, maintaining a generous cost advantage compared to our competitors.”
The Sling Blue base plan, which is now $40 a month, up from $35, provides more than 40 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 Sling Orange base package, which is also now $40 a month, up from $35, 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 cost of Orange and Blue combined is now $55 a month, up from $50 a month. (Sling still offers the first month of Orange or Blue, or Orange and Blue combined, for half off.)
Dish yesterday reported that Sling TV added 214,000 net new subscribers in the third quarter, a time when most other pay TV services lost customers. Lost lots of customers. It remains to be seen if the new price increase will hurt Sling’s subscriber efforts in the fourth quarter and beyond.
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— Phillip Swann