As of today, Dish Network’s Sling TV service is now accepting sign-ups without an invitation. Sling TV is among the first virtual pay-TV services, offering about a dozen channels delivered via the web for $20 a month. Three add-on packaged featuring sports, news, and children’s programming are also available for an additional $5 a month each. Among the channels included in the basic package are ESPN and ESPN2, making the service extremely attractive to would-be cord-cutters who have often struggled to get their sports fix without traditional cable. ESPN has been reluctant to offer an OTT service of their own to non-cable subscribers, but Dish’s Sling TV effectively does just that.
Dish has also announced that another channel will be joining the Sling TV lineup: AMC. While not as compelling for many as ESPN, AMC has grabbed headlines and viewers lately with several hit shows including The Walking Dead, Mad Men, and their brand new Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul.
Following a recent deal with Univision, Dish is also expected to offer a second basic package featuring more Spanish-language content, intended to be more attractive for Hispanic audiences. As traditional pay-TV continues to lose subscribers, and new players prepare to battle for consumers eyeballs, Hispanics are a coveted demographic, especially considering that they are more likely to subscribe to OTT services.