Sling TV Set to Roll Out User Profiles, Up Its Overall Pace of Innovation

Sling TV logo and remote
(Image credit: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The once red-hot "vMVPD wars" have settled into a kind of entrenched stalemate, and it seems like the first such skinny-bundled streaming service to market, Dish Network's Sling TV, has been stuck at its current level of around 2.4 million subscribers for years, yo-yo-ing up and down each quarter.

However, at CES 2023 in Las Vegas last week, the platform's top exec, veteran pay TV leader Gary Schanman, told TechCrunch (opens in new tab)that Sling is about to go on a bit of a bender in terms of innovation and change.

“Over the next number of quarters, you’ll see a lot faster innovation of the product and the product set,” Schanman told the tech pub. “When people join our company, we expect them to be creative and innovative and be all about winning. And so we’re starting to bring a lot more people into the company to help grow that."

First on Schanman's "winning is for winners" list is the addition of a streaming app staple -- user profiles. These are common features for SVOD services, improving the UX of individual users in a home. For example, if your spouse has already started on a series you want to start on, it's not fun when you click on it and it picks up midway through the ninth episode (or wherever she left off at).

We're starting to see profiles emerge as a common vMVPD feature, as well -- Hulu + Live TV has them, and so does FuboTV, for example.

Sling TV hasn't officially announced when it'll implement its new profiles feature.

As far as Sling TV is concerned, it has suffered no surfeit of UX advantage spanning from its beginnings, which is now -- believe it or not -- eight years ago.

Schanman, however, insists that price -- Sling TV is still far and away the cheapest vMVPD, despite a recent price increase to $40 a month -- is its winning feature.

“From the live TV perspective, we still have the best value in the market by far," he added. "We also have the most flexibility in the market. The truth is, you know, I think we’re a very pro-consumer customer offering. Most of our competitors are what I would call true one-for-one cable replacements, but they’re in some cases more expensive." ■

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!