This is the shoe that had to drop after Dish Network’s $20 a month live streaming service announced that it had struck carriage deals with AMC Networks and EPIX, the premium service co-owned by Viacom, Lionsgate, and MGM.
Sling TV says today that it added IFC to its basic package, with no change in price. It has already folded in AMC. So subscribers can watch series including Better Call Saul, Mad Men and, now, IFC’s Portlandia. VOD content from the channels will be “coming soon.” No word yet on prospects for other AMC-controlled networks including BBC America, BBC World News, and WeTV.
Meanwhile, subscribers willing to pay an additional $5 a month can watch programming from Sling’s new “Hollywood Extra” add-on pack which consists of EPIX, EPIX 2, EPIX 3, EPIX Drive-In, and Sundance TV. Here, too, VOD content will be “coming soon” — but the service’s DVR-like replay feature enables viewers to catch up with movies or shows from the channels up to seven days after they air.
Industry execs are carefully watching Sling’s development. Dish says the low-priced, slimmed-down service is designed to attract young adults who don’t subscribe to the $80+ a month cable or satellite TV bundle. But some wonder whether it will cannibalize traditional pay TV.
Last month Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen told analysts that Sling also “is a part of strategy to take content to a more mobile basis, to more wireless basis, because that’s the way the next generation is going to watch television.”
Channels in the basic package include ESPN, TNT, TBS, CNN, Food Network, HGTV, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, El Rey, and Galavision. It also offers content from Maker Studios.