Sling TV had 2.2 million subscribers as of the close of the fourth quarter in 2017. This news comes directly from DISH Network (who owns Sling TV) and as part of the company’s fourth quarter and year-end financial results declaration. Besides the actual numerical value, this is important as it is the first time DISH has announced subscriber numbers for Sling TV as a separate entity, instead of its usual behavior of announcing a combined total number of subscribers (inclusive of DISH TV and Sling TV). Speaking of which, DISH confirmed by the close of 2017, it had 13.242 million Pay-TV subscribers in the US in total - which breaks down as 11.030 million DISH TV subscribers and the already mentioned 2.212 million Sling TV subscribers. Although this was the extent to the separation with DISH collating the two entities once again for fourth quarter specific details - such as an increase in net Pay-TV subscribers of 39,000 in the fourth quarter, compared to 28,000 for the same quarter during the year before.
While the separation of Sling TV and DISH TV subscribers numbers does provide a more in-depth view of how many users are signed up to Sling TV it also does highlight how the shift in TV consumption has now risen to a level where not only providers like DISH declare hard numbers, but do so proudly. On that note, the 2.2 million number also clearly cements Sling TV's position as one of the leading, if not the leading, provider of TV streaming services in the US. Although as part of DISH’s wider published results today, the company did confirm how it (as well as the industry as a whole) faces more issues than ever before. For example, DISH acknowledged the competition Sling TV now faces from companies who offer directly comparable products, such as DIRECTV NOW, Sony's PlayStation Vue, Google's YouTube TV, Fubo TV, and others. As well as increased direct competition from networks, including HBO GO, CBS All Access, STARZ and SHOWTIME, and increased indirect competition from streaming services who provide their own original content through their own service, such as Netflix, Hulu, Apple, Amazon, Alphabet and Verizon.
Interestingly, DISH did also take a moment to point out that due to the uncertainty regarding the future of Net Neutrality, services like Sling TV could be negatively impacted and/or incur greater operating expenses through the implementation of usage based pricing, bandwidth caps, or other measures designed to “monetize access to their networks by data providers.” While also explaining as Sling TV subscribers “on average purchase lower priced programming service” (compared to DISH TV), the company's Pay-TV average revenue per user (ARPU) was negatively impacted over the last year.