At the same time, Sling TV customers currently remain without access to Univision or HBO channels, amid ongoing contract disputes between Dish and the programmers. As of the end of September, Dish reported a total of 2.37 million Sling TV subscribers but the lack of Univision and HBO threatens to impede its near-term growth. In addition, Dish in July dropped the Fox sports regional networks from Sling TV, before the RSNs were acquired by Sinclair Broadcast Group.
With the launch of Discovery networks on Sling TV, pricing remains unchanged. The over-the-top service offers two plans — the single-stream Sling Orange, which includes Disney and ESPN networks; and the multistream Sling Blue, which includes NBC and Fox networks — priced at $25 per month each, or $40 per month when purchased together.
Starting Wednesday (Nov. 28), Sling Blue now includes Discovery Channel, Investigation Discovery (ID) and TLC; the Sling Orange package includes ID and MotorTrend (formerly Velocity).
Discovery’s American Heroes Channel and Destination America are now available in Heartland Extra add-on ($5 extra per month); Science Channel is now available in News Extra add-on (also $5 monthly). Discovery en Español and Discovery Familia are now available in Sling TV’s Best of Spanish TV lineup ($10/month standalone at or $5/month as an add-on).
Discovery channels not available on Sling TV include Animal Planet, Discovery Family or Oprah Winfrey Network. Sling TV already included networks formerly from Scripps Networks, which is now part of Discovery; Sling Blue includes Food Network, HGTV and Travel Channel and Sling Orange includes HGTV and Travel Channel.
“We are thrilled to add Discovery networks to Sling TV’s lineup as they bring highly requested channels that offer immersive programs for any age group,” Warren Schlichting, president of Sling TV, said in a statement.
Current customers who subscribe to eligible Sling TV services and/or add-on package will automatically see the Discovery networks appear in their channel guide.
For the third quarter of 2018, Dish posted its biggest quarterly net subscriber loss to date — sequentially dropping 367,000 satellite TV customers while gaining only 26,000 Sling TV subscribers. Dish president and CEO Erik Carlson told analysts that roughly half the Dish TV subscriber losses in Q3 were related to the dropping of Univision programming, which was pulled from the lineup on June 30.
Dish chaiman Charlie Ergen, speaking on the company’s Nov. 7 earnings call, acknowledged that the loss of HBO will cause Dish and Sling TV to lose customers in Q4. He blasted AT&T as using HBO as an “economic weapon” to extract unreasonable economic terms from Dish. HBO CEO Richard Plepler called Ergen’s comments “a silly but transparent attempt on Dish’s behalf to muddy the waters for reasons only they can explain.”
Sling TV offers programming from Disney/ESPN (in the Sling Orange bundle), Fox, NBC and NFL Network (in Sling Blue), as well as networks from partners including AMC, A+E Networks, Scripps, Turner, Viacom, GSN, Hallmark, Showtime, Starz and Epix. Sling raised the price of the Orange bundle from $20 to $25 per month this summer.
Pictured above: Discovery Channel’s Shark Week