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Sling TV finishes 2021 with a slight amount of growth

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.

The Sling TV UI on a smart TV.
Phil Nickinson/Digital

Despite the stagnation, Sling TV likely remains the third-largest live TV streaming service in the United States. It’s a little more than half as big as leader Hulu with Live TV, which last reported 4.3 million subscribers at the close of its fiscal first quarter for 2022. YouTube TV hasn’t given any sort of subscriber numbers since October 2020, when it reported “more than 3 million.”

Dish TV’s satellite operations also lost subscribers in the fourth quarter, landing at 8.221 million at the end of the year, for a loss of about 200,000 on the year.

Sling TV remains the closest you can get to true a la carte television in the United States. Its two basic plans — Sling Orange and Sling Blue — can be had for just $35, about half of what you pay for Hulu or YouTube TV. But those combined plans (which together go for $50 a month) only comprise 50 channels, also about half of what you get on Hulu or YouTube TV. You’ll then augment Sling Orange or Sling Blue (or both) with “Sling Extras,” which round out your coverage plans with additional channels — and for additional monthly fees.

Sling TV remains available on every major streaming platform in the U.S., including Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Google TV, Apple TV, and in a web browser. While the service doesn’t stream your local broadcast affiliates, its AirTV tuner allows you to connect an over-the-air antenna and then have those channels appear alongside the streaming channels in the Sling TV app.

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