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DISH Network's Sling TV Raises Price, Introduces Channels

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DISH Network (DISH - Free Report) live TV streaming service Sling TV recently announced a price hike for all its subscription options by $5 each per month effective Dec 23, 2019.

Sling Orange and Sling Blue are now available $30 per month each instead of $25. The main difference between the two packages is that Sling Blue includes Fox and NBC broadcast and sports networks, while Sling Orange includes Disney (DIS - Free Report) and ESPN channels. Notably, the combo Sling Orange and Blue package is priced $45 per month instead of $40.

Moreover, Sling TV is also raising the prices of most of its add-on channel packs. Sports Extra is now $15 per month while the Sling Orange + Sling Blue bundle is available for $10 per month as an add-on to individual packages.

Also, the 4 Extras Deal is now $12 per month. Sling Blue News Extra now costs an additional $5 per month and includes CNBC, BBC World News and A+E’s Law & Crime.

Further, the Total TV Deal, which bundles all seven Sling TV Extras (Sports Extra, Kids Extra, News Extra, Lifestyle Extra, Heartland Extra, Hollywood Extra, and Comedy Extra), as well as 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage is now available for $25 per month with the Sling Orange + Sling Blue package. Total TV Deal remains $20 per month as an add-on to either Sling Orange or Sling Blue.

These price changes take effect immediately for new Sling TV customers. Existing customers will see the price change on their next bill after Jan 22.

In November, Sling added 214,000 subscribers to reach 2.7 million paying customers, per a Variety report.

Sling is attempting to offset the extra cash outlay by adding more channels and improving features.

Feature Additions

Some of the latest features launched on Sling include player controls across all recordable channels, ribbons to help with content discovery, like Trending Live and Recommended for You, as well as improved search and a binge-watching feature.

Additionally, for customers who haven’t signed up for Sling’s Cloud DVR package can now get 10 hours of Cloud DVR storage for free. Sling TV has also rebranded its paid DVR service as Cloud DVR Plus but the price of $5 per month and the 50 hours of storage remain the same.

Moreover, customers can also record all live linear channels, including Disney and ESPN channels, and use player controls on any recorded content, with the ability to fast-forward through ads.

Channel Additions

Recently, Fox Corporation (FOXA - Free Report) announced a deal with DISH to launch Fox News on Sling TV’s Sling Blue package. In addition, Fox Business is available on Sling Blue News Extra.

The Fox broadcast network has already been on Sling in select markets, and Fox’s FS1 and FS2 sports networks are included in the Blue tier.

Sling TV also added MSNBC and CNN’s HLN to the standard Sling Blue lineup. Previously, MSNBC was in the News Extra add-on for Sling Blue and HLN was in News Extra for both Orange and Blue.

Additionally, Big Ten Network, a joint venture between Fox and the Big Ten Conference, is set for launch on Sling in time for the 2020-21 college football season.

Moreover, FXM will be added to Sling Blue Hollywood Extra, which will also feature FXX including linear feed.

Further, Nat Geo Wild is joining Sling Blue Heartland Extra and will include linear feed.

Rising Programming Cost Forces Price Hike

Sling TV isn't the only live TV streaming service that has seen a price hike this year due to increasing programming costs borne by streaming companies. The likes of Disney’s Hulu with Live TV, AT&T’s TV Now, fuboTV, Sony’s PlayStation Vue and Alphabet’s (GOOGL - Free Report) YouTube TV also saw significant price hikes in 2019.

Earlier this year, Sony announced that it would shutter its PlayStation Vue service in January 2020 over programming pricing challenges.

The price of Hulu + Live TV also increased to $54.99 per month starting Dec 18, 2019.

As we enter 2020, DISH is expected to benefit from competitive pricing advantage against advertised base prices per month of other TV subscription services that include AT&T TV Now (including HBO) at $65, fuboTV at $54.99, YouTube TV at $49.99 and Philo TV at $20.

DISH currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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