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DISH Network: Beta Launch of Sling TV's Multi-Stream Version

DISH Network Corp. DISH recently beta-launched a new version of its Internet TV service -- Sling TV. The new offering will allow subscribers to stream on up to three different devices simultaneously for $20 a month.
 
Inside the Headlines
 
In addition to the option of multiple users, subscribers will gain access to 21st Century Fox channels for the first time. 
 
The multi-stream plan will be anchored by Fox channels like FX cable channel, Fox’s regional sports networks, including the YES Network, and Fox’s broadcast stations in 17 markets and National Geographic, along with optional add-ons like A&E, HBO, EPIX, Univision, Scripps Networks Interactive, AMC Networks and Turner Networks channels.
 
The new version, however, does not include ESPN or other Disney channels, which are the crucial programming features of the prevailing Sling TV service. Meanwhile, consumers can still subscribe to the previous version of Sling TV, which costs the same.
 
Notably, add-ons for the new version are priced at $5 per month, excluding the premium channels which come for different prices. Moreover, subscribers of the new service will gain access to on-demand programming shows like Empire, along with the full library of The Simpsons.
 
Competition Rife
 
This Sling TV offer is in sync with the latest trend in the pay-TV industry where programmers are designing skinny packages. DISH Network’s cropped bundle is one of the numerous online TV offerings in the market.
 
Notably, U.S. telecom behemoth Verizon Communications Inc. VZ already offers discounted, slimmed-down packages while AT&T, Inc. T too is not far behind as it plans to offer three Internet TV packs for different types of viewers by year-end.
 
Reportedly, Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN is also gearing up to introduce a range of slim Internet-TV packages. 
 
Story So Far
 
Over the last couple of years, the internal dynamics of the U.S. pay-TV industry have been gradually shifting from cable and satellite TV operators to low-cost over-the-top service providers. The strong presence of online video streaming providers like Netflix and Hulu are posing significant threat to the existing pay-TV business model. Meanwhile, cord-cutting has become a serious concern for major pay-TV operators.
 
Notably, in Feb 2015, DISH Network forayed into the Over-the-Top (OTT) video delivery market with the commercial launch of Sling TV across the U.S. Availability of Internet TV at an exceptionally low price became a game-changer for the pay-TV industry while posing significant threat to cable MSOs (multi-service operators).
 
Internet-TV services were a direct threat to cable TV connections, which cost almost 4-5 times more. Although cable packages offer a wider choice of TV channels, customers usually prefer to pay for the channels that they view. Thus, the availability of a few top-rated TV channels for a low fee was an instant hit among a larger section of the population.
 
Interestingly, DISH Network planned to check customer churn with its Sling TV offering. However, the service was often criticized for its limit of one stream at a time per household, thereby limiting its appeal somewhat.
 
Our Take
 
With the launch of a streaming service for multiple devices, Sling TV intends to address one of its major problems. By giving in to consumer demand and becoming more flexible, DISH Network aims to better cater to families with multiple viewers.
 
Thus, it remains to be seen whether DISH network’s endeavors to gain customers and check churn through its new Sling TV offering bears fruit. 
 
DISH Network currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
 
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AMAZON.COM INC (AMZN): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
AT&T INC (T): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
VERIZON COMM (VZ): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
DISH NETWORK CP (DISH): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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