Skip to main content

ScreenBytes Executive Interview Series are also available on

SpotifyApple PodcastGoogle Podcast
State of the Screens

Sling TV Hikes Price of Disney-ESPN Bundle to $25 Monthly, Launches Free Content for Ex-Subscribers

By July 11, 2018No Comments

Price hike: Sling TV is the latest streaming pay-TV provider to raise prices since launch.

Why this is happening: For the most part, the streaming pay-TV providers are paying the same monthly cost to the networks (ESPN, etc.) as their traditional pay-TV counterparts. If the networks raise prices, then the pay-TV provider passes it along to the consumer.

Quote from Warren Schlichting — President @ Sling TV:
“We’ve been able to hold the price at $20 for three years. But programming costs go only one direction… At some stage, we needed to be healthy and viable.”

Loss leader? Some analysts believe that YouTube TV loses $5/month/subscriber due to the fact that it pays the networks ≈ $45/month/subscriber and only collects $40 from the subscriber.

The streaming wars monthly cost w/ increase since launch:
1) Hulu Live — $40
2) DirecTV Now — $40 (↑ $5)
3) Sling TV — $25 (↑ $5)
4) PlayStation Vue — $45 (↑ $5)
5) YouTube TV — $40 (↑ $5)
6) Verizon — TBD
7) Charter Spectrum TV Stream — $22
8) CenturyLink — $15
9) Comcast Instant TV — $18
10)
Philo — $16
11) Spectrum Choice — $25
12) AT&T WatchTV — $15
13) DirecTV TBD — $80

Streaming pay-TV providers by subscriber numbers (% of total):
1) Sling TV — 2.3M (39%)
2) DirecTV Now — 1.5M (25%)
3) Hulu Live — 800K (14%)
4) PlayStation Vue — 600K (10%)
5) YouTube TV — 300K (5%)
6) Other — 300K (4%)
7) fuboTV — 200K (3%)
8) Philo — 100K (1%)

Flashback #1: vMVPDs alone no threat to pay TV

More #1: vMVPDs Are Getting More Expensive. Here’s Why Consumers Might Be Okay With That.

More #2: Sling TV revamps its service with a price hike, new free tier & a la carte channels

More #3: Comparing the six major live TV streaming services for cord cutters

Michael Beach

Michael Beach

Michael Beach is the Chief Executive Officer of Cross Screen Media, a media analytics and software company that enables marketers to plan, activate, and measure CTV and linear TV at the local level. Michael is also the founder and editor of State of the Screens, a weekly newsletter focused on video advertising that is a must-read for thought leaders in the advertising industry. He has appeared in such publications as PBS Frontline, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Axios, CNBC and Bloomberg, and on NPR’s Planet Money podcast.