Market Insight

Dish adds Hispanic packages to SlingTV

May 05, 2015  | Subscribers Only

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Dish continues to add programming options for its pay TV OTT service, Sling TV, making Spanish-language programming available as add-on packages. Dish introduced Deportes Extra and Peliculas & Novelas Extra available for $5 /mo each as add-ons to its Best of Live TV core package.

The addition of the two Latino add-on packs, which includes live channels and VoD, increases Dish’s add-on packs to 8, providing an increasing breadth of entertainment options for consumers. 'Deportes Extra' includes Azteco, BeIn Sports en Espanol, BeIn Sports HD (English, Univision, Univision Deportes and UniMas. 'Peliculas & Novelas Extra' includes Az Corazon, Cinelatino, De Pelicula, De Pelicula Clasico, Pasiones, Univision tlnovelas, Univision and Unimas.

'Deportes Extra' and 'Peliculas & Novels Extra' are just the start, as Dish will announce future Latino offerings for Sling TV in the coming weeks.

Our analysis

Moving into the Latino market seems like it would be the next logical step for Dish as it attempts to cement its prominence in the OTT pay TV space. Where it cedes marketshare to DirecTV in the satellite delivered pay TV, the company is actively leading its rival in the OTT pay TV. In fact as well as opinion Dish has become the de facto industry leader for OTT pay TV, not only offering service English and Spanish, but content for several other ethnic groups as well, majorly through their Sling International service.

Moving toward OTT will be critical for both DirecTV and Dish network in the mid term. Both companies are likely to see reductions in their number of traditional satellite delivered pay TV subscribers as consumers are becoming increasingly used to buying HSD before video. And it makes sense, as new households form they are more disposed to consume video non-traditionally. The moves by Dish and DirecTV (through its Latino OTT play, Ya Veo) are likely to resonate with a certain amount of households who don't want to pay full price for video service.

What's impressive about Dish's offering is that the company has managed to put together a compelling suite of channels without bulking up the price. IHS believes that its margins on the core bundle are relatively thin, however, the company is likely to make up ground when it sells add-on packs. Like their English language counterparts, the two new Hispanic packs plenty of room for significant margins. And as a bonus, Dish has added the services with the full co-operation with its existing programming partners.

On the other hand, Verizon has provoked the ire of its existing programming partners by offering 'skinny bundles' with reduced cost and less programmatic variety. Where Verizon differs from Dish is in the fact that it believes that the new bundles are within the scope of existing affiliation agreements. Several cable network owners have publicly disagreed, with Disney/ESPN filing suit to enjoin the service from operation.

The ESPN/Verizon suit is important because if the decision sways in favor of Verizon, there is going to be nothing from stopping other pay TV operators from following DISH and Verizon's leads. In truth if Verizon were victorious it could represent a significant win for consumers, but it would come at a cost.  It is likely that if the industry is given free reign to institute 'skinny bundles' in a Verizon-like fashion that the overall number of cable networks will likely decline as smaller networks struggle for viability.

The moves by Dish and Verizon preserve the existing paradigm of pay TV video. Dish has reportedly agreed to a maximum of two million subscribers for the English version of Sling TV, it may be that Spanish or foreign language  variants will be subject to the same stricture. By increasing the diversity of its offering Sling TV may expand its customer base beyond its English language limits, and returning more value to shareholders.

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