Dish released its Q4 2021 earnings report Thursday morning, reporting a 595,000 pay TV subscriber loss for the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2021. Dish also reported that Sling TV ended the year with 2.486 million subscribers, slightly up year over year from 2.474 million but down 70K for the quarter from 2.6 million.
Compared to other live TV streaming services, Sling TV is still sitting in third place, following Hulu with Live with 4.3 million subscribers and YouTube TV which most recently shared subscriber numbers for the service in October 2020 and reported a ballpark number of 3 million subscribers. fuboTV reported Wednesday that it reached 1.13 million subscribers by the end of 2021.
Dish pointed to increased competition as a reason for the drop in numbers, noting “Competition has intensified in recent years as the pay-TV industry has matured,” in a regulatory filing that was released alongside the earnings report. Dish named competitors including Netflix, Hulu, Apple+, Prime Video, YouTube TV, Disney+, ESPN+, ViacomCBS, HBO Max, STARZ, Peacock, Fubo and Philo as competition and pointed out bundles and discounted programming as offers making it difficult for Sling to attract new customers.
“Our Pay-TV services also face increased competition from programmers and other companies who distribute video directly to consumers over the Internet, as well as traditional satellite television providers, cable companies and large telecommunications companies that are increasing their Internet-based video offerings,” the filing says. “We also face competition from providers of video content, many of which are providers of our programming content, that distribute content over the Internet including services with live-linear television programming, as well as single programmer offerings and offerings of large libraries of on-demand content, including in certain cases original content.”