Dish Network soon will add AMC — home of shows like “The Walking Dead,” “Better Call Saul” and “Mad Men” — to the core $20-per-month Sling TV service, which it is launching nationwide in the U.S Monday with 14 cable channels including ESPN.
With the over-the-top service the satcaster is targeting younger consumers who have shunned traditional pay-TV services, typically priced at least three times higher. However, among the service’s current limitations, it currently excludes ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and broadcast channels; and Sling TV does not provide DVR features (although certain programming is available on-demand).
The Sling TV full live lineup currently includes ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Cartoon Network, ABC Family, Disney Channel, CNN, AMC, and Univision’s El Rey Network and Galavision.
The addition of AMC to Sling TV stands to make the service — which has been perceived as essentially a way to get ESPN without paying for a full cable or satellite TV subscription — more attractive.
“We flipped the switch this morning opening up Sling TV to all consumers, and we’re giving them something they’ve been asking for: AMC,” Roger Lynch, CEO of Dish’s Sling TV division. “Soon Sling TV will deliver hits like ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘Mad Men’ with AMC included in our core package.”
Sling TV will announce the launch date of AMC, as well as additional information regarding package availability of other AMC Networks channels, in the coming weeks.
Also Monday Dish said it will offer the WatchESPN multiplatform live sports service for Sling TV customers at no additional cost. It’s also launching a $5 per month sports tier, Sports Extra, with ESPNews, ESPNU, SEC Network, Universal Sports, Univision Deportes, beIn Sports, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN Bases Loaded and ESPN Goal Line. Sling TV’s other optional packages are Kids Extra and News & Info Extra, each priced at $5 monthly.
Sling TV, on top of live cable TV and VOD, includes content culled from Disney’s Maker Studios, one of the largest YouTube multichannel networks. At launch, Sling TV subscribers have access to a Maker playlist featuring a selection of shortform videos from the MCN’s network of 55,000 independent creators. The service soon will add Maker’s Polaris+ videogame-oriented channel, which features longform original programming, to available in an exclusive firstrun window on Sling TV. Polaris+ is an extension of Maker’s existing Polaris brand, the No. 1 online gaming network attracting more than 3 billion views every month.
Dish announced a deal for the OTT service with Univision last week, after reaching agreements last year with Disney/ESPN, Turner Broadcasting System and Scripps Networks Interactive. Dish also has a deal with A+E Networks, but currently none of that programmer’s networks are in the Sling TV lineup.
At launch, Sling TV is available on Roku players and TV models, via iOS and Android apps, and on PCs and Macs. Dish plans to add support for Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick soon, with Google Nexus Player, LG and Samsung smart TVs, Microsoft Xbox One and other devices to follow.