Sling TV Gets New Group President

Michael Schwimmer has been named group president, Sling TV, following the departure of Warren Schlichting, Dish Network Corp. announced.

Schwimmer, who returned to Dish in June 2019 to lead international business development and strategy, will report to Dish CEO Erik Carlson.

During his career at Dish, which began in 1996, Schwimmer led the company’s marketing, programming and media sales organizations and played a key role in launching the Dish International and DishLATINO brands. In addition to his work on Sling TV’s international business, he honed his over-the-top expertise at Fuse Media, where he served as president and CEO. In his new role, Schwimmer will be responsible for all aspects of the Sling TV business. He has also assumed responsibility for Dish Media Sales.

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Kevin Arrix, SVP, Dish Media Sales, will now report to Schwimmer, and will continue to be responsible for the company’s advertising sales, analytics and operations.

Sling TV Offering Free Month of Epix, Showtime and Starz

After losing 110,000 subscribers in the previous 12 months, Dish Network’s Sling TV is launching “Premium Pass,” which gives new and existing subs 30 days free access to MGM-owned Epix, ViacomCBS’s Showtime and Lionsgate-owned Starz programming.

Launched in 2015, Sling Blue and Orange ($30 each) program tiers feature 50+ channels — including A&E, AMC, Bravo, CNN, E!, Fox News, FX, HGTV, HLN, MSNBC, and TLC, among others. The Premium Pass offer is now included across all Sling TV services: Sling Blue ($30/mo.), Sling Orange ($30/mo.) or Sling Blue + Sling Orange ($45/mo.).

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Premium programming includes “Monday Rom-Coms”: My Best Friend’s Wedding and Something’s Gotta Give (Showtime). “Wednesday Westerns”: The Kidand True Grit (Epix). “Friday Families”: Night at the Museum and Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (Starz).

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Global Pay-TV to Add 35 Million Subs by 2025 — Driven by Online TV

Pay-TV consumption in the United States is declining, but globally, there’s still life in the distribution channel — thanks to online TV.

New data from London-based Digital TV Research suggests there will be 35 million new pay-TV subs through 2025, with the global base reaching 1.06 billion across more than 138 countries.

Driving growth is online TV, which includes platforms such as Sling TV, Hulu with Live TV, AT&T TV Now and YouTube TV in the United States. IPTV will add 84 million subs through 2025, topping 391 million. Online TV will grow its global market share in pay-TV from 30% in 2019 to 37% in 2025.

Satellite TV, which is projected to lose another 4 million subs through 2025, will generate 20% of pay-TV subs, down from 21% in 2019.
Cable will decline 7%, accounting for 40% of all pay-TV subs by 2025 — a near 50% drop from 74% market share in 2010. There will be 430 million cable TV subs (both analog and digital) by 2025, 101 million fewer than in 2010.

“Our forecasts are based on the assumption that professional sports will restart in August following relaxations in the COVID-19 lockdown,” analyst Simon Murray said in a statement. “If this does not happen, then pay-TV will experience considerable churn.”

TiVo Bows Branded 4K Video Streaming Device

TiVo May 6 announced the retail availability of “TiVo Stream 4K,” a streaming media device that melds TV shows and movies from different platforms on one screen.

TiVo Stream 4K features live television from online TV pioneer Sling TV, in addition to direct access to 4K programming from Netflix and Prime Video (all requiring separate subscriptions and a 4K-compatible TV).

First unveiled at CES Las Vegas 2020, TiVo Stream 4K is now available at TiVo.com with an introductory price of $49.99 and a free 7-day trial of Sling TV for new subscribers.

‘TiVo 4K Stream’ device

“At a time when viewers are streaming more than ever across a sea of platforms, TiVo Stream 4K integrates content with recommendation and search features to make it easier to find,” TiVo CEO Dave Shull said in a statement. “[This] is symbolic of our company’s transformation from … DVR provider to a pioneer in the streaming market.”

TiVo Stream 4K features include integration with major streaming video services on the Google Play Store, eliminating the need to toggle between multiple apps to access TV shows, and with TiVo’s intuitive search options and intelligent recommendations, users can find titles and discover new shows within one interface.

TiVo Stream 4K users also have access to thousands of hours of free movies and TV shows as well as 49 free streaming channels across news, sports, kids, food, music and comedy.

The device includes Dolby Atmos sound and Dolby Vision HDR and plugs into existing HDMI ports on TVs and combined with a streamlined version of TiVo’s “peanut” remote control enabling conversational search.

“TiVo has taken search to the next level, making it more convenient for customers to take advantage of the value Sling TV offers,” said Warren Schlichting, group president, Sling.

Sling TV Bows ‘Happy Hour Across America’ Campaign With Free TV

Sling TV is introducing “Happy Hour Across America,” offering free primetime TV nightly as a public service to American families practicing social distancing at home.

Starting April 14, those new to Sling TV can register to watch free TV every night from 5 p.m. to midnight.

“Since we can’t serve you a beverage or basket of hot wings, we’re introducing a new kind of happy hour — TV ‘on the house’ every night,” Warren Schlichting, group president of Sling TV, said in a statement. “Much like a real happy hour, TV is often a shared experience. So grab your favorite refreshment, tune in with your friends and family, and get those group chats ready.”

As the COVID-19 crisis has unfolded, television news consumption on Sling TV climbed by triple digits over the last month, increasing 164%, according to the service. Viewers have been switching from news to entertainment starting at 6 p.m. EST with peak viewership hitting at 10 p.m. EST across Sling TV’s services, according to the company.

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“Happy Hour Across America” opens the Sling Blue service to new Sling customers, offering more than 50 live channels, free cloud DVR and more than 50,000 on-demand titles. It also allows simultaneous viewing on three screens. Sling Blue channels including A&E, AMC, Bravo, CNN, E!, Fox News, FX, HGTV, HLN, MSNBC and TLC.

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“Happy Hour Across America” participants will have free access to several series premieres and TV programs, including:

  • “Deadliest Catch” (Discovery) season 16 premiere April 14
  • “Property Brothers: Forever Home” (HGTV)  season 3 premiere April 15
  • “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” (Bravo) season 10 premiere April 15
  • “What We Do in the Shadows” (FX) season 2 premiere April 15
  • “Real Housewives of New York City” (Bravo) season 12, episode 3 April 16
  • “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” (E!) season 18, episode 4 April 16
  • “90 Day Fiancé: Self-Quarantined” (TLC) limited series premiere April 20
  • “Better Call Saul” (AMC) season 5 finale April 20

Consumer can visit sling.com/deals/happy-hour to sign up.

Sling TV Donating All Movie Rental Profits to COVID-19 Relief Group

Sling TV April 10 announced it is donating profits from its digital movie rental business to Good360, a global nonprofit that is delivering supplies to healthcare providers as they battle the coronavirus across multiple fronts in the country.

The Dish Network-owned online TV platform said studio movies such as Sony Pictures’ Jumanji: The Next Level and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker are just a few of the movies Sling’s 2.3 million subscribers are renting to support the cause.

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Most-viewed TV shows on Sling include “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” and primetime dramas “The Walking Dead” and “Better Call Saul,” among others.

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Sling TV Enhances Free News Access on Amazon Fire TV

As part of Dish Network’s pandemic-related “Stay in & Sling” initiative, Sling TV March 30 launched enhanced integration with Amazon Fire TV’s “Live” experience. The partnership gives Fire TV users free access to news channels, as the nation continues to manage a growing number of shelter-in-place government directives.

“With social distancing recommendations extended nationally, we are working find new ways to help serve the public as it continues to shelter in place,” Warren Schlichting, group president of Sling TV, said in a statement. “Free, live news on Fire TV is yet another avenue we can tap to deliver immediate, free access to vital information.”

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The Live experience is a series of discovery features that makes it easier to find and watch live TV directly from the Fire TV user interface without having to open an app. These features include the Live tab, “On Now” rows and an integrated channel guide.

As previously reported, Sling TV is providing complimentary 24/7 live news coverage from ABC News Live, Fox News, select local Fox affiliates and Cheddar News to all Fire TV users.

To access the new live TV integration, Fire TV users can scroll to the Live tab, which includes rows of free live content from Sling TV.
Customers who have not previously used Sling must download the app on Fire TV and click the “Explore Free Content” option upon opening the app to see free content on their Fire TV.

Last week, in an effort to help Americans stay home and informed during the COVID-19 crisis, Sling began allowing new users free access to the Blue program plan for 14 days. Interested consumers can access this offer by visiting sling.com.

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Sling’s Blue service offers more than 45 live channels, free cloud DVR, over 50,000 on-demand titles and simultaneous viewing on three screens. Channels include CNN, Fox News, HLN, MSNBC, Bloomberg TV, Cheddar News, Newsy and Local Now.

Sling TV Offering 14 Days of Sling Blue for Free

Sling TV has opened its Sling Blue service to consumers for 14 days at no charge (through April 5) as a public service.

Sling TV’s Blue service offers more than 45 live channels, free cloud DVR, more than 50,000 on-demand titles, and allows simultaneous viewing on three screens. It features news channels including CNN, Fox News, HLN, MSNBC, Bloomberg TV, Cheddar News, Newsy and Local Now.

“With more states and municipalities issuing shelter-in-place orders, everyone needs the latest information to do their part,” Warren Schlichting, group president of Sling TV, said in a statement. “We’re hoping to motivate Americans to stay home, and stay informed during this critical time.”

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As the COVID-19 crisis has unfolded, television news consumption on Sling TV has climbed by triple digits over the last month, according to the service. Since Feb. 24, Sling TV’s viewership of top news channels increased by 121 percent.

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“Now more than ever American’s are anxious to stay up to date, and no other streaming service offers the depth of live news available on SLING Blue,” said Schlichting in a statement.

The offer is part of Sling TV’s “Stay in & Sling” initiative launched last week.

Sling TV Offering Free Service During Coronavirus Crisis

Sling TV March 18 announced a new promotion to provide consumers without a subscription free access to select news and entertainment content as the nation confronts the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

Launched in 2015 by Dish Network, Sling TV was the first standalone online TV platform featuring premium channel ESPN and marketed as an alternative to the traditional pay-TV bundle and SVOD.

“To stay informed in these uncertain times, Americans need access to news from reputable sources,” Warren Schlichting, group president, Sling TV, said in a statement. “With many Americans finding themselves staying at home, we have an opportunity to use our platform to help them deal with this rapidly evolving situation.”

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Free access includes ad-supported movies and shows suitable for kids and families, in addition to ABC News Live, a 24/7 streaming video news channel for breaking news and live events. Access is available through an app download on a Roku, Amazon or Android device, or by visiting sling.com on a Chrome, Safari or Edge browser and following the instructions on the welcome screen.

Current Sling TV subscribers can access free content within the user interface on any supported device, without changing their service plan.

Dish is also offering the Sling Blue service plan for $20 the first month (a $10 discount). In addition to free content, Sling streams channels, including CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, through its base services, Sling Orange and Sling Blue, starting at $30 per month.

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AMC Networks Inks Expanded Deal With Dish/Sling TV

A day before it announces fourth-quarter fiscal results, AMC Networks Feb. 25 unveiled a new long-term distribution agreement with Dish Network and Sling TV that includes continued carriage of AMC Networks’ linear channels AMC, BBC America, IFC, SundanceTV, WE tv and BBC World News, as well as the launch in the coming months of AMC Networks’ SVOD services Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now and Urban Movie Channel (“UMC”); AMC Networks’ ad-free offering AMC Premiere; and its IFC Films Unlimited streaming service.

Acorn TV, acquired through AMC Networks’ majority purchase of home entertainment distributor RLJ Entertainment, streams British-centric programming to more than one million paid subscribers in the U.S. and Canada.

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Shudder streams original and licensed horror and suspense content, including original series, “Creepshow,” and documentary, “Horror Noire.”

Sundance Now streams original and exclusive series from true crime to dramas and thrillers from around the world, including “Discovery of Witches,” “Riviera” and “Killing for Love.”

UMC (Urban Movie Channel) also came with the RLJE acquisition as the first subscription streaming service created for African American audiences, featuring original series, network TV shows, classic sitcoms, and feature films.

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AMC Premiere is an ad-supported VOD platform streaming current seasons of series from AMC, BBC America, IFC and SundanceTV, including “Killing Eve,” “Better Call Saul,” and “The Walking Dead,” with extras, including bonus footage, sneak peeks of future episodes and behind-the-scenes features.

IFC Films Unlimited is a streaming channel featuring a collection of theatrically-released and award-winning indie titles from IFC Films.

“Much like our linear channels, our ad-free services provide passionate audiences with exceptional content and new ways to innovate with valued distribution partners like Dish as our businesses evolve together,” Josh Reader, president of distribution and development for AMC Networks, said in a statement.