Sling Orange, the Sling TV channel package that includes ESPN, Disney, AMC, Comedy Central, and over 25 other networks, is getting $5 more expensive. Effective immediately for new customers and beginning next month for existing ones, the plan now costs $25 per month. Since Sling TV’s launch in early 2015, a move that kicked off today’s competitive wave of internet TV platforms, the bundle had been priced at $20. Sling Blue, the other Sling TV package introduced in 2016 with Fox, NBC, and other non-Disney channels, remains $25, so the two are now at parity. Both packages can be had together for $40 monthly.
“Programming fees only go one direction, and that’s up!” Sling TV president Warren Schlichting wrote in a blog post on the price hike. That’s... pretty blunt and to the point, at least. Just like cable companies, internet TV services are blaming networks and content providers for passing along higher prices to customers. Sling Blue’s channel selection has also grown compared to what the original lineup was over three years ago.
Alongside the price bump, Sling TV today announced that it’s now offering several different types of content without requiring a base monthly subscription — you know, in case people cancel their service over the costlier subscription. A new “Watch Now” row is being added to the home screen that includes ad-sponsored content you can watch for free. It’s coming first to Roku and then other devices later on. Watch Now offers “more than 100 hours of popular TV shows and movies, including Wrecked, At Home with Amy Sedaris, Good Behavior, Flip or Flop and more.”
Separate from that, Sling TV will now let non-subscribers purchase and stream pay-per-view events. There are other ways of doing that and other apps to do it through, but if for whatever reason you prefer Sling TV’s interface, now you can get your UFC and boxing fix in the same place.
And last, Sling will let people pay for some channels a la carte without a full-on channel package subscription. But don’t get too excited. Aside from Showtime (which can be had standalone for the same $10 price), we’re talking about networks like The Dove Channel, Up Faith & Family, and Stingray Karaoke. If a karaoke channel has been missing from your life, now you can get it for $7 each month, skip Sling TV’s other bundles, and watch Netflix and Amazon Prime Video like you already do.
But $25/month is still one of the more affordable ways to get ESPN and Sling Orange’s other networks including a slew of Viacom stations. Soon, Sling TV will face not one but two rival services from AT&T, which is launching a new WatchTV streaming service. WatchTV includes around 30 channels (no ESPN, though) and comes included free with AT&T’s latest unlimited plans. It will also be available standalone for a $15 monthly subscription.