Skip to main content

Dish subscriber numbers have fallen, but Sling TV is still on the rise

Image used with permission by copyright holder
While Sling TV has yet to take off the way Dish might have hoped it would, it seems that the company was wise not to keep all of its eggs in the satellite TV basket. Although its subscriber numbers have continued to fall, its Sling TV subscriber base is growing.

The company saw a loss of 12,000 total pay-TV subscribers in the last quarter, according to its latest earnings report. That makes for a total loss of 81,000 subscribers lost in 2015, slightly more than the 79,000 subscribers the company lost in 2014.

Dish combines its satellite TV subscribers with Sling TV subscribers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Sling TV is losing subscribers. A research report from MoffetNathanson estimates that Sling TV added 129,000 subscribers over the last quarter, FierceCable reports.

The company has kept relatively quiet about the number of Sling TV subscribers it has, aside from its initial announcement of 169,000 users in the month following its launch. While some estimate the current subscriber number to be around 400,000, that number could be over 600,000, according to a report yesterday from the Wall Street Journal.

Though subscriber numbers are down overall, Dish actually saw a revenue increase over 2015. Total revenue for the year was $15.1 billion, up from the $14.6 billion the company earned in 2014. Actual operating income was down, however, at $1.3 billion compared to $1.8 billion in 2014, which Dish says comes from an FCC auction expense of $516 million.

Cord-cutters are only partially to blame for the drop in numbers. While Dish is down, both Time Warner and Comcast added video subscribers over the last quarter.

While the future of satellite TV isn’t looking particularly bright, the prospects for Sling TV seem brighter. In January Goldman Sachs analyst Brett Feldman estimated that the streaming TV service could see a total of 2 million subscribers by the end of 2016.

That still seems like a long shot, but not as much as it once did. After all, those former satellite subscribers have to go somewhere.

Editors' Recommendations

Kris Wouk
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kris Wouk is a tech writer, gadget reviewer, blogger, and whatever it's called when someone makes videos for the web. In his…
Sling TV finishes 2021 with a slight amount of growth
Sling TV.

Sling TV closed out 2021 with 2.486 million subscribers, parent company Dish reported today. That's down about 70,000 subscribers for the quarter, but up about 12,000 year over year, and up about 175,000 subs from two years ago.

In other words, another year of mostly the same for Sling, which hasn't seen growth of more than 20,300 subscribers in the past eight quarters.

Read more
Vizio finally gets Sling TV on SmartCast
Sling TV.

The No. 3 live TV streaming service in the United States is finally available on one of the biggest smart TV platforms. Vizio today announced that its SmartCast operating system finally has a Sling TV app, meaning you'll no longer need to resort to other methods (or other products) to watch Sling on your Vizio TV.

Sling TV last reported 2.556 million paid subscribers as of the third quarter of 2021. That definitely keeps it behind Hulu With Live TV, which sported some 4 million paid subscribers, and likely behind YouTube TV as well, which last gave word of "more than 3 million" subs, but that was back in October 2020. It hasn't given an update since.

Read more
Sling TV is coming to the Amazon Echo Show
Amazon Echo Show 15 Smart Display on a wall.

Tucked away amid Amazon's myriad announcements on Tuesday — between the cameras and the robots and the excellent-looking Echo 15 — was a small but not insignificant item:

Sling TV is coming to Amazon Echo Show.

Read more