Sling TV From DISH Network Corporation (DISH) is Latest in Cord-Cutting Trend

The cord-cutting phenomenon is growing fast, and DISH Network Corp (DISH) is the latest example

Jan 6, 2015 at 2:28 PM
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I think we all knew this day was coming, but I don't think we knew it'd be here so quickly. At least I didn't. With its introduction of Sling TV at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on Monday, DISH Network Corp (NASDAQ:DISH) is the latest company to introduce a service that promotes cord-cutting -- the growing trend of ditching cable and satellite subscriptions for streaming entertainment only. With Sling TV, consumers can stream live TV from about a dozen different channels for only $20 a month.

This is perhaps the biggest advancement in television viewing since Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) began to pick up steam a few years ago and changed the way people thought about watching shows. People realized that paying $100 or more a month for satellite or cable TV didn't quite make sense, when they could get plenty of entertainment from NFLX for only about $9 a month. The cord-cutting trend gained traction, but there was still something holding it back: live sports.

Consumers had to hang on to their expensive TV services to continue to watch their favorite sports in real time. But now, Sling TV gives people a chance to do that without the high costs, as DISH was able to strike a deal with Walt Disney Co's (NYSE:DIS) ESPN networks to live-stream the channels. Do I have to say it? This is huge.

Nevertheless, the shares of DISH are down 2.5% today, at $68.70. Since touching a record high near $80 in late November, DISH has surrendered about 14%. However, the stock could find a foothold in the $67-$68 neighborhood -- this area acted as resistance for part of 2014, but has now emerged as support, containing DISH's mid-December pullback.

Daily chart of DISH

While it seems DISH shareholders aren't impressed -- and Sling TV comes nowhere close to filling every void in the TV world -- it is taking us to the next level, pushing the process along, and at a much faster pace than I expected. When the cord-cutting conversation started, I thought it'd take several years for companies to adapt, strike licensing agreements, iron out all the details for the rights to shows and all of that. However, these companies aren't messing around -- they know what the consumer wants, and they're moving quickly to give it to them.

The consumer now has myriad of entertainment options, from Google Inc's (NASDAQ:GOOGL) YouTube to Hulu to Sling TV and Netflix, just to name a few. It's also important to note that specific services are also available, such as the NFL's Sunday Ticket from DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV), which can be purchased and viewed on an app on various devices. Also, the NBA and ESPN recently struck a deal that included a streaming service that allows people to watch games without a TV subscription. The point is, cord-cutting is quickly picking up steam, allowing consumers to customize their entertainment experience to their own taste, while saving a significant amount of money while doing so.

I think the money-saving aspect is worth considering on a broader level, too. Nearly everyone in the United States has a television, and most still pay around $100 a month for service. Imagine $60 or more in the pockets of the majority of Americans. It's a change that has broad implications. Now if we could only lower our cell phone bills …

One other part of this that cannot be overlooked is the convenience that streaming TV provides. That is, no more calling and talking to machines -- at least not as much! Is there anything more awful than calling Time Warner Cable Inc (NYSE:TWC) and having to listen to them try to sell you on paying for a house phone? Who wants a house phone? Why do they do this to us? I just shuddered thinking about it (sure, you'll still have to call someone for Internet service, but it's a start). With streaming TV, you sign up online, and that's it. You can cancel whenever you want with the click of a button. That's the way life should be: plenty of choices, at a low cost, without the headaches.

I love being a millennial.



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