Following the resolution of a carriage dispute with Disney early last month, Dish-owned virtual multichannel video provider Sling TV is now raising its prices and citing increased programming costs. Dish already raised prices for its satellite subscribers, and now it’s raising the prices for its streaming customers as well. As Matthew Keys noted, the new prices (a $5 a month rise for each package, so a total cost of $40 a month for one of the Sling Orange or Sling Blue packages, or $55 a month for both before add-ons) are double what the service cost when it was introduced:
— Matthew Keys (@MatthewKeysLive) November 3, 2022
Here’s more from Keys’ post on this:
The price increase goes into immediately for new customers, and will roll out to existing customers by December 3, a Dish Network spokesperson said. The base price is double what Dish Network charged for Sling TV’s base package when it was introduced seven years ago.
“Raising prices for our customers is not something we take lightly,” Gary Schanman, the group president for Sling TV, said in a statement. “We recognize that historically high inflation is impacting our customers every day, and our goal is not to be another burden to your wallet.”
…“This price increase was implemented to match the rising costs of bringing our customers the entertainment they love,” a Dish Network spokesperson said. “While there will not be any specific channel additions at this time, we are reviewing agreements with channel owners every day to further expand your streaming entertainment experience.”
As that spokesperson goes on to note, this is the first price increase for Sling TV in almost two years, and its packages are still cheaper than some vMVPD competitors (but that all depends on what channels and features you need). And yes, it’s not really surprising that the Sling prices are rising following that new agreement with Disney, and following the hike for traditional Dish customers. But it is certainly notable to see Sling prices going up again.
A significant distinction with Sling’s offerings is the Orange and Blue packages, which allow for skinnier bundles than most all-in-one packages. In sports in particular, Orange stands out for ESPN, ESPN2, and MotorTrend, while Blue has FS1, NFL Network, and USA. They also have Sling Orange and Sling Blue sports add-ons for $11 a month each, with the former covering SEC Network, ACC Network and more and the latter covering NFL Network RedZone, FS2 and more.
So for those looking for a particular grouping of channels, Sling can be a good deal. And their combined offering is quite competitive as well. But, as usual, it depends on exactly what you want; it gets less competitive when you start throwing in add-ons, and they don’t have the Bally Sports regional sports networks, and aren’t likely to get them (and have limited other RSNs).
Dish and Sling also have a very aggressive strategy to keep prices down, which means we see them in carriage disputes quite a lot. And while it made sense for them to eventually strike that resolution with Disney (it is extremely hard to sell a bundle of any sort with no options for ESPN in particular), that now means the Sling prices are higher.