Sling TV, Dish Network’s Internet pay-TV service, launched a service to let users watch up to three streams at the same time — with a slew of sports, entertainment and local programming from Fox Networks Group, but without ESPN or other Disney channels.
The beta multi-stream service is priced at $20 per month, the same as the original single-stream Sling TV, and includes content from Fox Broadcasting, Fox Sports, FX, National Geographic and Fox’s regional sports networks. In addition, the service’s base and “Extra” packages include content from AMC, A&E, HBO, Turner Broadcasting, Scripps, Epix and Univision.
Sling TV’s existing single-stream TV service, which includes content from Disney and ESPN Networks, is unchanged — meaning it won’t include the Fox channels. When Disney inked its deal with Dish in March 2014, marking the first time it had granted over-the-top rights to its TV programming, the limit on a single stream per account was a key provision, as Disney/ESPN didn’t want the OTT service to siphon away existing pay-TV customers to a lower-cost package.
For now, Sling TV customers must choose between the multi-stream service with Fox or the one-stream version with Disney/ESPN (or buy both for $40 per month).
Disney and ESPN Media Networks said it is in “active discussions” with Dish about the multi-stream Sling TV service but has yet to reach an agreement. “Our brands and content are best-in-class and would add unparalleled value to this new service,” the rep said.
New Sling TV customers can try out the multi-stream service free for seven days and with no annual contract. Additionally, Sling TV’s single-stream service can be purchased with or without the new multi-stream service for $20 per month.
“Since launch, our customers have asked for more channels and multiple streams,” Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch said. “We believe our new multi-stream service, anchored by a strong lineup of Fox content, including top franchises like ‘Empire’ and ‘The Americans’ on Fox and FX, as well as access to Major League Baseball in 15 markets, including the New York Yankees, is the first step in answering their requests.”
The company pitches Sling TV as cheaper, hassle-free alternative to traditional cable and satellite services — including Dish itself. Sling TV’s addition of an option to stream up to three channels will help it compete against Sony’s PlayStation Vue OTT service, which provides up to five concurrent streams. PlayStation Vue launched a “slim” package nationwide last month that lacks local TV programming in most markets, expanding beyond its previous seven-market footprint. Meanwhile, AT&T plans to roll out three DirecTV-branded OTT packages in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Sling TV’s multi-stream lineup includes Fox local stations in 17 markets and Fox regional sports networks, depending on a customer’s location, as well as: AMC, FX, CNN, HGTV, Cartoon Network, History, TNT, Food Network, FOX Sports 1, TBS, Adult Swim, IFC, El Rey, A&E, Viceland, truTV, Lifetime, Travel Channel, National Geographic, Newsy, Bloomberg Television, Weather Channel’s Local Now, Univision, UniMás, Polaris+, Maker, Flama and Galavisión. HBO costs an additional $15 per month, and Cinemax is $10 more per month.
Sling TV’s multi-stream customers will have access to Fox’s RSNs and their local NBA and MLB telecasts, including select NBA playoff games. The RSNs, available based on a user’s location, include Fox Sports Ohio, Fox Sports West, Fox Sports Florida, Fox Sports South, Fox Sports Midwest, Fox Sports Arizona, Fox Sports Cincinnati, Fox Sports Detroit, Fox Sports North, Fox Sports San Diego, Fox Sports Southeast, Fox Sports Southwest, Sports Time Ohio and YES Network.
The multi-stream service includes local Fox broadcast content, live and on-demand, in the following 17 markets: Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte N.C., Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Gainesville, Fla., Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Pa., Phoenix, San Francisco, Tampa, Fla., and Washington, D.C.
Sling TV said expects to add local content from Fox affiliates in the future on a market-by-market basis. At launch, customers residing outside the 17 markets (or outside their home) will have access to only Fox on-demand content.
“We’re proud to partner with Dish and Sling TV to offer our brands Fox Broadcasting, FX, National Geographic and Fox Sports as part of Sling TV’s multi-stream service,” Fox Networks Group president and COO Randy Freer said in a statement. The deal “reflects our commitment to providing the consumer with a better and more seamless TV experience.”
In the near future, customers will be able to use Sling TV credentials to log in to the Fox Now, FXNow, Fox Sports Go and Nat Geo TV apps, according to the companies.