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Cord-cutters are flocking to Sling TV, but its subscriber count holds good and bad news

Cord-cutters are flocking to Sling TV, but its subscriber count holds good and bad news
[Photo: courtesy of Sling TV]

Dish Network has announced Sling TV subscriber numbers for the first time, revealing that the streaming TV service had 2.2 million subscribers by the end of 2017. That’s up 47% year-over-year, which means Sling had about 1.5 million subscribers at the end of 2016.

The total subscriber count puts Sling well ahead of its rivals. AT&T’s DirecTV Now had 1.2 million subscribers at the end of 2017, while an unofficial report last month claimed that Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV had amassed 450,000 and 300,000 subscribers, respectively, since launching last spring. An estimate from analyst Ben Bajarin pegged Sony’s PlayStation Vue at 670,000 subscribers in December.

Sling, which launched in early 2015, was the first of these services out of the gate. Still, its rate of growth over the last year may be a point of concern. By adding around 700,000 subscribers, Dish is maintaining Sling’s lead but not increasing the gap, especially compared to its former satellite rival DirecTV. Sling does have a price advantage over its competitors–its cheapest base package starts at $20 per month, versus $35 per month for DirecTV Now and PlayStation Vue–but that might not matter much as more people seek to replace most of the channels they had in their cable bundles.

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