Sling TV Tests Fox-Anchored Multi-Stream Service

Sling TV, Dish Network’s OTT-TV service for cord-cutters, said it has booted up a beta on a new multi-stream service that will be anchored by channels from the Fox Networks stable, including the Fox broadcast network (in owned-and-operated station markets), along with networks such as AMC and A&E for $20 per month.

But the new package – which includes 30 channels including Fox broadcasting channels in select markets and regional sports network YES Network (currently off Comcast in a contract dispute, meaning Comcast customers in the New York City market are missing New York Yankees Major League Baseball games) – won’t include ESPN, which in the past was one of the selling points of the original Sling TV service. Sling TV customers can still watch ESPN as part of its original $20 monthly package, but won’t get the Fox networks.

UPDATE: Disney and ESPN Networks said in a statement that “we are in active discussions with Dish about their multi-stream Sling TV service but we have yet to reach an agreement. Our brands and content are best-in-class and would add unparalleled value to this new service.”

The addition of Fox broadcasting channels also is a milestone for the service. When Sling TV launched in 2014, it did so without any broadcasters in the lineup, a sticking point for the OTT service. In the beta service, customers in 17 Fox markets – Atlanta; Austin Texas; Charlotte N.C.; Chicago; Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; Detroit; Gainesville, Fla.; Houston Texas; Los Angeles; Minneapolis; New York; Orlando, Fla.;  Philadelphia; Phoenix; San Francisco; Tampa, Fla., and Washington D.C. – will get access to local Fox broadcasting stations. Outside those markets, customers will be able to access on-demand broadcast content.  

“Since launch, our customers have asked for more channels and multiple streams. We believe our new multi-stream service, anchored by a strong lineup of Fox content, including top franchises like Empire and The Americans on Fox and FX, as well as access to Major League Baseball in 15 markets, including the New York Yankees, is the first step in answering their requests,” said SlingTV CEO Roger Lynch in a statement. “We look forward to incorporating our customers’ feedback throughout the beta phase as we evolve the multi-stream service to include additional channels, features and functionality.”

The new “Best of Live TV” multi-stream service includes content from Fox Broadcasting, Fox Sports, FX, National Geographic and other popular networks from AMC, A&E, Turner, Scripps and Univision. Customers can add genre packages like Kids, Sports, Lifestyle and HBO and Cinemax for an additional fee.

"We’re proud to partner with Dish and Sling TV to offer our brands Fox Broadcasting, FX, National Geographic and FOX Sports as part of Sling TV’s multi-stream service,” Fox Networks Group president and chief operating officer Randy Freer said in a statement. “This flexible platform, which allows viewers to access our industry-leading programming, ranging from Empire to American Crime Story, the World Series, the Super Bowl and our massively popular local sports, at home or on the go, reflects our commitment to providing the consumer with a better and more seamless TV experience.”

Mike Farrell contributed to this story.