Is Sling TV Already Failing?
During the NCAA Final Four weekend, all eyes were on Sling TV. People were interested to see what it was all about, giving the new service a chance to wow them by allowing them access to games they previously couldn't watch without purchasing expensive cable. The results were less than impeccable. Now people are questioning if Sling TV blew its big chance, or is there still enough time to gain more traction in the TV provider arena?
The big unveiling moment was supposed to happen during Wisconsin's amazing victory against Kentucky in the Final Four tournament, but if you had Sling TV, you may have received several errors and/or video that didn't quite pass any kind of streaming quality test with choppy results. According to Sling TV on their Twitter page, the issues were due to too many people signing up to watch the games and streaming at the same time. Perhaps they just weren't ready for the big time numbers yet. They attempted to send some of the workload to their network partners to help compensate for the heavy load.
Thousands were drawn to Sling TV, a streaming service that allows access to 20 TV channels for $20 per month, a perfect option for people who can't afford hundreds of dollars for regular cable and often miss out on big games and shows you can't get on free channels alone. This was the first time you could get TNT or TBS without a cable or satellite subscription and many are saying Sling TV dropped the ball.
The CEO of Sling TV Kevin Lynch commented that the issues only happened to around a thousand people and they are preparing new software to be released this week to make sure this doesn't happen again. And what better way for second than Sling TV offering HBO for $15 just before Game of Thrones premieres its 5th season on April 12th.
While this issue may set Sling TV back, the news may not be too bad after all. If fewer people decide to use the service, it can help Sling TV's bottom line in the long run. It was reported by AdAge that in order for networks to allow them to use this service, they have made it so they cannot have more than 2 million subscribers at anytime. If they do, then they can walk away from Sling TV, forcing another blow to what was meant to be a revolutionary new way to watch TV.
As of right now, it's been reported that Sling TV was able to add an unconfirmed 100,000 subscribers, so there's no telling if or when they will reach the 2 million cap. Even then, the added revenue from over 2 million new customers may be too difficult for networks to ultimately pass up. There's no telling what will happen down the road if Sling TV actually threatens the revenue stream of the more powerful cable entities. Right now, that's a long way off and only possible if there are no more setbacks in launching the service.
Alternatives to cable have never been more popular than they are now. Customers are tired of their wallets taking a hit each and every month for services and channels they don't even need. Sony has just released a streaming service of their own. Apple has also been said to be working out a new bundle of their own, offering HBO Now right at a small price without a cable subscription.
Networks are finding themselves in a tough position. Their goal is to increase viewership and ratings. There are still several million people who can't afford cable. They would love the opportunity to reach those millions, but at the same time desiring to keep the customers who pay for their expensive bundles. But networks are likely breathing easier after the recent failure by Sling TV, allowing them more time to see where the current market is headed.