Dish Network’s first-to-market Internet TV service, Sling TV, has fleshed out its video offering significantly since its debut in late 2014. It’s another sign that pay TV content owners are looking to find audiences online, instead of in front of the TV set.
Sling TV is the US’ first live streaming pay TV service, and it mimics the Internet TV models that have found success in Europe. Sling TV, which offers a limited selection of pay TV channels to live stream for $20 per month, has expanded its tiered options to include a total of three:
-Hollywood tier includes Epix, Epix2, Epix3, Epix Drive-In and Sundance TV.
-Sports Package includes SEC Network, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, Universal Sports, Univision Deportes, beIN Sports, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN Bases Loaded and ESPN Goal Line.
-The children’s tier includes Disney Junior, Disney XD, Boomerang, Baby TV and Duck TV
All of the tier packages are an additional $5 per month to subscribers.
Live streaming pay TV services are already successful in Europe
Dish has also signed up new channels for the basic package. Sling TV viewers can now watch the highly coveted AMC and IFC networks at no additional charge. Disney’s online video network Maker Studios is expected to launch a new Web video channel on Sling TV called Polaris+, which will offer gaming-related video content.
The OTT Experiments in Other Markets
Content owners are also fielding OTT trials in other markets in Europe, the lessons from which will be applied to those networks’ inevitable US OTT launches.
Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav recently touted the company’s direct-to-consumer Internet TV products are doing well in Europe. “Our European OTT offerings are giving us a growing revenue stream, a growing direct-to-consumer offering, and valuable learnings that we can apply in the US and other markets, and we are just getting started,” he said.
Premium pay TV network Starz is gearing up to launch its standalone OTT product, called Starz Play International. The OTT service will be released later this year “in select emerging markets,” said Starz CEO Chris Albrecht. “I think it certainly is a model that we can replicate in other territories and regions outside the US,” he said. He added that the content licensed for a US version of the Starz OTT service would be different. “From a model point of view, the businesses could be the same; from a content point of view that would look differently,” he said.
CBS has indicated it’s looking at launching an SVoD service for its premium pay TV channel, Showtime. And last week, Albert Fried and Company analyst Rich Tullo predicted pay TV channel AMC will launch its own a la carte Internet TV service sometime this year, too.
2015 is shaping up to be an exciting year for Internet TV services. Meanwhile, Leichtman Research Group released new data this week showing total pay TV subscribers in the United States dropped by 125,000. That’s the second consecutive contraction …
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