Sling TV Bows Referral Program

Dish Network’s pioneering online TV service Sling TV March 8 announced a campaign whereby subscribers can get $5 off their $20 monthly fee when referring the service to a friend.

The promotion enables both the subscriber and referral to get $5 off their subscriptions for 90 days after the referral opens a paid Sling TV account.

To refer a friend, go to sling.com and click on the “Get $15” button to send an email to the friend, or use the link to share on social media or via text message.

After a 7-day free trial, if the referral continues to subscribe to Sling TV, the $5 discount will be applied to both Sling TV monthly bills. One $5 discount is applicable per monthly billing cycle up to 12 months. Multiple discounts cannot be combined within the same billing cycle.

Sling TV ended the most-recent fiscal period with more than 2 million subscribers.

 

Sling TV Tops 2.2 Million Subscribers

Dish Network Feb. 21 announced that its Sling TV unit ended 2017 with more than 2.21 million subscribers – up 47% from 1.5 million subs at the end of 2016.

Launched in early 2015, Sling TV was the first standalone online TV service, offering access to 20 pay-TV channels priced from $20 monthly without a contract.

The service was the first to offer ESPN outside the pay-TV ecosystem. The concept was so new (Disney licensed ESPN as an experiment) that a blank screen aired during commercial breaks – underscoring marketers’ unfamiliarity with the distribution channel.

Today, online TV represents an alternative to cord-cutters and ongoing erosion of pay-TV households in the Netflix-fueled, over-the-top video era.

Other online TV platforms include PlayStation Vue ($40-$75), DirecTV Now ($35-$70), Spectrum TV Plus ($30), YouTube TV ($40), Hulu With Live TV ($40), FuboTV ($45) and Philo TV ($16).

 

It’s a Netflix World

NEWS ANALYSIS – Netflix hit another fiscal home run Jan. 22, reporting record 8.3 million subscriber growth in its most-recent financial period. The SVOD pioneer now has more than 117 million subscribers globally.

And it’s growing, with no end in sight. The company forecasting 6.4 million new subs in the first quarter, ending March 31.

Oh yeah, Netflix is profitable too – generating $186 million profit on revenue of nearly $3.3 billion – in 90 days! That’s nearly 33% year-over-year growth from the same regulatory period at the end of 2016.

The same day, CNBC reported that online TV competitors “Hulu With Live TV” and YouTube TV had generated 450,000 and 300,000 subscribers, respectively, since launching last year. They trail Dish Network’s pioneering Sling TV with 2 million subs and DirecTV Now with 1 million.

While Hulu, which is co-owned by Disney (Fox), Comcast and Time Warner (AT&T), and Google-owned YouTube haven’t officially revealed sub data, the numbers are telling.

When combined with HBO Now (2 million subs), Showtime OTT and CBS All Access (4 million), the entire online TV universe (including PlayStation Vue) barely edges Netflix’s most-recent quarterly sub growth.

“It actually shows you how poor the value proportion is for live TV,” BTIG Research Rich Greenfield told CNBC.

That’s an understatement.

Hulu’s original SVOD service has 17 million subs, which trails significantly to Netflix’s 55 million domestic subs. Amazon Prime Video, which is bundled with the Prime membership, reportedly has more than 40 million U.S. members – although it is unknown how many Prime members stream video.

Critics suggest Netflix’s domestic sub growth is waning, but CEO Reed Hastings disagrees, arguing the service’s U.S. market remains unchanged from management projections five years ago in the 60 -90 million range.

“So, we’ve got a way to go just to cross into the bottom of our expectation range,” Hastings said on the webcast.

In other words, it’s a Netflix world, everyone else is just living in it.

Sling TV Partners With comScore on Advertising Measurement

Sling TV and comScore Jan. 4 announced a partnership to offer advertising measurement joining the live OTT service’s and DISH set-top box impressions.

As the inaugural user of the new service, Sling TV brings comScore verified addressable TV impressions and OTT impressions together, giving Sling TV advertisers a fluid view of their campaign’s performance across the OTT service’s connected TV, mobile and desktop impressions, as well as linear TV impressions on DISH, according to comScore.

DISH Media Sales, which oversees ad sales for DISH and Sling TV, first introduced addressable advertising on its satellite TV platform in 2012 and opened cross-platform addressable advertising across both platforms earlier this fall. Cross-platform advertising enables brands to reach DISH and Sling TV viewers with a single buy. Ads are delivered during live and VOD content across any device while the viewer watches TV. With the introduction of comScore’s new service, advertisers can now validate the performance of these campaigns with addressable advertising metrics across platforms, using consistent third-party measurement.

“Bringing Sling TV’s impressions into the measurement fold gives advertisers an apples-to-apples view of their campaign across platform, device and even alongside traditional TV,” said Adam Lowy, head of Sling TV advertising sales. “We’ve partnered with comScore to offer advertisers a single, trusted metric to validate their campaigns and bridge these targeted, addressable TV impressions, regardless of where they run.”

Linear TV addressable advertising measurement from comScore has been used by major agencies and brands for more than five years, but this new offering extends measurement of campaign delivery to multiple platforms.

“Addressable advertising for television content is projected to grow 66 percent this year to $1.3 billion in media spend,” said Cathy Hetzel, comScore EVP in a statement. “As more addressable TV inventory becomes available in OTT, there’s a growing desire among advertisers to take advantage of the premium quality of television with the benefits of greater addressability. At the same time, it’s important that this inventory can be valued alongside traditional linear formats with consistent independent measurement.”