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OTT comes of age

OTT services will be in 35 million US households by 2022 representing a quarter of the market, predicted Roger Lynch, CEO of OTT start-up Sling TV, in an IBC conversation with writer and presenter Kate Bulkley. “Long term, over 20 years, I can’t imagine OTT services not being in every home,” he said. “Growth is inexorable.”

Sling TV, owned by satellite pay-TV giant Dish Network, launched in January targeted squarely at perceived weaknesses in the old pay-TV model. It charges $20 a month for a skinny bundle of channels including ESPN.

“The next generation of TV viewers are causing change.They are younger, more mobile, more educated but the reasons they reject traditional pay-TV are the same pain points of current subscription based pay-TV: long term contracts; channels you don’t watch; hidden costs; and poor customer service.”

Lynch declined to reveal how many subscribers Sling had attracted but said that “almost none” of them had switched from Dish. “Dish understands that OTT is where the market is going and if it cannibalises their core business so be it. It turns out we don’t cannibalise Dish because the demographics of satellite are different to that of OTT.”

Almost 90% of Sling TV subscribers also have Netflix. “It’s a very complementary service. We bring live sport to their drama series and we are on a lot of the same devices.”

He said he expected the overall pay-TV market to grow, even while the share of traditional pay-TV declines. “In the US, all pay-TV operators sell the same package of channels but OTT will segment the market.”

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