Sling TV Will Stay Skinny

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Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch says the Dish Network-owned over-the-top “skinny bundle” service for cord-cutters and cord-nevers expects to add broadcast networks to its lineup, but not in the short term.

“It’s a complicated market,” he said during a wide-ranging discussion with moderator Jeff Baumgartner, editor of Next TV. “To some extent, [networks] aren’t ready.”

Lynch said Sling TV hopes to eventually carry local stations, but stressed that the company didn’t want to create a bundle that was too expensive by paying too much for them. In many ways, the broadcast community wasn’t ready to negotiate those kinds of deals, he said.

“ABC can’t do it,” meaning negotiate a national agreement because of all the local affiliate agreements, Lynch said. “Over time, local is something we will offer. But to a certain extent they are not ready.”

He also stressed that the deal with broadcasters or any other programmer would have to be priced appropriately. “We are not going to create a bundle that will cause us to miss market” by paying too much for channels, he said. “We could have launched the service a few years ago but it would have been a big pay TV bundle” and that would have missed the market they were targeting.

Lynch provided no subscriber numbers but said Sling TV was very happy with the growth. “When we created the service a year ago we weren’t sure how much demand there would be for a service that didn’t have the major broadcasters, but we now know there is a lot of demand,” he said.

Since launch, Sling TV’s subscriber profile has remained generally consistent, attracting cord-cutters, cord-nevers and a surprising number of people who already have a pay TV service, Lynch noted. “Why they do it I don’t know … but it is not an insignificant segment,” he said.

The service overindexed among millennials but it was mostly gaining traction among those 23 or 24 years old and older. “Before 22, they are not interested in pay TV,” he said.

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