Sling TV introduces 'a la carte' channels, raises base package price

(Reuters) - Dish Network Corp’s Sling TV said on Thursday it would allow viewers to buy Showtime, sports events and other TV channels without a subscription to the No. 1 online streaming service, as it seeks new revenue sources to deal with growing competition.

Sling is adding more options for viewers as pay-TV competitors like AT&T Inc, which introduced a $15 streaming service last week, threaten to steal away customers looking for a lower-cost channel package.

The move would help to turn Sling into a place where viewers can access all their content, rather than switching between apps, Sling TV President Warren Schlichting said in an interview. Streaming platforms usually offer add-ons like premium TV channel HBO on top of an existing subscription in order to charge a higher price.

Sling, with 2.3 million subscribers in the first quarter, will immediately raise the price of its lowest-cost streaming subscription by 25 percent to $25 a month, Schlichting said, pointing to rising fees to televise sports.

AT&T’s DirecTV Now, Sling TV’s second-largest rival, had 1.5 million users in the first quarter.

Sling will sell eight standalone subscriptions, including to NBA League Pass and faith-based TV channels like Up Faith & Family, said Ankit Bishnoi, vice president of content acquisition and strategy at Sling TV, in an interview.

The standalone subscriptions, which Schlichting said would move Sling TV closer to “a la carte” viewing, will be rolled out first to former Sling subscribers to win them back.

Sling TV and programmers will share revenue for the standalone subscriptions, said Schlichting, who declined to provide specifics.

Reporting by Sheila Dang; Editing by Anna Driver and Richard Chang