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Sling TV's Web-TV Service Attracts at Least 100,000 Sign-Ups in Its First Month

Dish's over-the-Internet TV offering is designed to attract millennials.

Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Sling TV, Dish Network’s Web-TV service, has been open to U.S. customers for just over a month. And so far, it seems like Sling has generated some attention: Sources say at least 100,000 people have signed up to check out the $20-a-month service.

Sling offers a one-week free trial, and the people I’ve talked to don’t know how many paying subscribers have stuck around. A Dish Network rep declined to comment. One executive familiar with the service described early results as “encouraging.”

Dish and Sling say they’re targeting an audience of around 10 million millennials who have broadband access but don’t have traditional TV subscriptions, though Sling’s marketing suggests it’s also going after cable-TV customers.

There are roughly 100 million pay-TV customers in the U.S., and that number has stayed flat for several years, suggesting that pay TV’s growth has permanently stalled and may be in decline; Sling is an effort to give Dish Network, and its programming partners, a new revenue source.

Sling’s basic package offers streaming access to pay-TV channels including ESPN, CNN and AMC; the company has begun selling add-on packages with more channels for an additional $5 a month.

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