Sling TV — the third-largest live TV streaming service in the United States with nearly 2.5 million paid subscriptions — has dropped the Russia Today channel following Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, parent company Dish confirmed to Digital Trends on Friday afternoon. The same goes for Dish, the satellite arm of the media carrier. It’s not clear exactly when RT America became unavailable, but it was still being streamed on Sling TV as of Wednesday, March 2. As of the afternoon of March 4, the channel was unavailable.
CNN on Thursday reported that RT America ceased production and laid off most of its staff, effectively spelling the death of the news channel, which couldn’t very well continue with reruns amid the current crisis. That effectively makes dropping the channel moot, if not at least a little symbolic.
Sling TV and Dish become the latest in a relatively steady march of companies to divest themselves of anything that could be construed as being an arm of the Russian government after its president, Vladimir Putin, had the country’s military invade Ukraine in the last week of February. Roku dropped the RT channel earlier in the week, and DirecTV (which also has satellite and streaming operations) also nixed the channel this week.
On the now-unlisted Roku channel, RT America made no bones about its affiliations, calling itself a “Russia state-affiliated channel.”
It’s unclear how many subscribers RT America may have had on Sling TV. It wasn’t part of either of the base plans, and instead was only available as a $6-a-month add-on to the Sling News Extra package, where it was bundled with BBC World News, News Nation, NewsMax, HLN, Weather Nation, EuroNews, Science, News 18, CGTN, and Law & Crime.