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Why Sling TV is giving Dish the upper hand in era of Internet TV

By James MacTavish / Mar 17, 2015

Sling Tv Logo

Announced last January at CES, Dish surprised audience members with a simple, zero contract, low entry price (OTT) over-the-top cable service called Sling TV. Aimed squarely at the cord cutting demographic of 18-34 year olds and others who are no longer satisfied with both the cost of their cable plans and not being able to access their TV packages across a variety of devices like Netflix, Sling TV looks to provide the answers to the stalling cable industry. Only launching just last month it’s still too early to gauge Sling’s success, but here’s my top reasons why Sling TV is the game changer the industry needed.

It’s not tied to an OS ecosystem

OTT services are not a new concept for consumers. Besides Netflix, consumers have a wealth of providers like Apple, Google, Roku, Sony, and more all jockeying to provide the end-all be-all in video entertainment. Sling TV is a wholly different beast, showing its value not so much in price point but the simple fact that it’s platform agnostic. Apple TV and Apples much talked about upcoming web streaming service is iOS only, Google’s Chromecast and Nexus TV offering will always be linked to Google Play, and the list goes on for manufacturers putting their ecosystem before that of the consumer. Sling TV foregoes the banner waving to provide a service that’s readily available across tablets, smart phones, and computers with the ease consumers come to expect. While manufacturers force allegiance through additional device purchases, Sling side steps the fracturing of consumers to provide an OTT service that appeals to everyone. Even better yet, Dish has gone to great lengths to solidify their presence on other OTT hardware such as Roku, Apples iPad’s and iPhones, and even Microsoft’s Xbox One.

It leverages cables strongest assets

Being a mainstay in homes since the 1950’s the cable industry naturally has benefitted from owning the pipe into consumer houses. Also providing broadband internet and other home services like smart phone plans, cable companies have extensive reach and capital. Sling TV leverages the strength of owning the pipeline into consumers’ homes and packages it with the content and channels needed to block out start-ups looking to penetrate their market with their offerings. Listening not only to existing customers, but those of potential consumers they don’t have, with the pain points of accessibility, pricing, customization, and contracts shows that Dish is listening.

It has an approachable business model at the forefront

Sling TV present s a business model that couldn’t be more clear cut for cord cutters and disenfranchised cable consumers. For $20 consumers get ESPN, ESPN2, CNN, TBS, TNT, HGTV, Food Network, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Travel Channel, ABC Family, Maker, and Disney Channel, with additional packages of 5 channels purchasable for $5. Although it’s unfortunate that you are unable to choose your basic channels for $20, the ability to configure a service plan that should still cost you 3 times less than the average cable plan and have only your preferred channels is a solid proposition. Not having to deal with expensive add-ons, cable box payments, and unwanted channels is just the bonus. With more refinement, Sling TV could be the perfect fit for the consumer that’s looking for exact channels and content when it comes to is TV consumption and value per dollar.

Dish isn’t ignoring the elephant in the room

Since 1995, the average cable bill has increased by roughly 6.1 percent every year outpacing the rate of inflation and infuriating customers. [Source] If Sling TV provides anything for disenfranchised cable consumers it’s the easily understandable, quantifiable and ultimately justifiable bill. Prices don’t fluctuate like normal cable plans, services are tailored exactly to each households tastes, and the streaming of content anywhere and on anything brings value to the offering like never before. Currently 6.5 percent of households nationwide have cut the cord, up from 4.5 percent in 2010, and even more telling is that 15 percent of adult broadband users who subscribe to pay-TV services are considering ditching in the next year.[Source] By proactively adapting to this new and growing cable cutter demographic, Dish is not only attempting to attract back those that no longer utilize cable services but to also enhance their value proposition and accessibility for their customers.

Sling TV is the shot in the arm that the cable industry needed. While it still has the painfully traditional cable values of being live TV only with time slotted non dynamic ads, Sling TV does far more right than wrong and is a cinch for curious consumers to try out. With a few refinements, and the ongoing support of more channels joining the program, the future looks bright for Dish TV and their great new service.