Sling TV has now announced it has added two new channels to its $25 per month Sling Blue package: E! and Paramount Network.
Technically, it has moved these channels, as up until now they were available as part of the Lifestyle Extra and Comedy Extra add-ons. Meaning subscribers could access those channels if they opted to pay more by adding them onto their existing bundle.
With this latest move, those channels are now included in the Sling Blue package, and at no extra cost to customers. For existing Sling Blue subscribers, Sling TV says the two channels are now “immediately available.”
As part of the announcement, Sling TV also made a comment which can only be taken as a direct jab at AT&T’s DIRECTV NOW service.
Sling TV said, “While other streaming providers are removing quality programming and raising prices, we've added two popular entertainment channels to Sling Blue without inflating costs for our customers.”
In recent weeks DIRECTV NOW has come under increasing criticism due to the revamping of its main streaming plans which saw the number of package options dropping from four down to two, and even the number of channels in each of the new plans becoming considerable fewer than before. This is all the while increasing the price all DIRECTV NOW subscribers have to pay for their streaming plan.
Sling TV’s timing here does seem to be designed to capitalize on any festering resentment subscribers feel towards the latest DIRECTV NOW moves, while making sure those unhappy subscribers are aware there are alternatives.
As Sling TV also put it in the same announcement, “there's never been a better time to be a Slinger."
For example, while E! is currently still available through both the new “Plus” and “Max” plans offered by DIRECTV NOW, Paramount Network is not.
Previously, Paramount Network was available on all four DIRECTV NOW plans, including the entry-level “Live a little” option - which cost $10 less than the new entry-level Plus plan.
Adding an extra dimension to all of this, Paramount Network is a channel owned by Viacom.
Viacom was one of the providers hit hardest by the changes AT&T made as all of its properties were removed from the new DIRECTV NOW lineup except for those who opted to subscribe to plans that are far more expensive than the comparable plans were before.
Following this, AT&T and Viacom became involved in a very public spat over carriage negotiations which threatened the complete removal of all of the Viacom channels from all of AT&T’s video-based services.
The threat of the blackout was eventually overcome when the two announced on Monday they had reached a new deal. Although that deal doesn't seem likely to bring the Viacom lineup back to the new DIRECTV NOW plans - subscribers grandfathered into the older plans still have access to the same channel lineup they did before.
In any case, those who do want to access Paramount Network, and without having to pay any more for the privilege, Sling TV now wants you to know it has you covered.