Dish Says Sony’s Streaming Service Will Be Real Substitute For Cable

sonyawesomeJust a few weeks ago, Dish launched its Sling TV streaming service which some hailed as a cord-cutter’s dream, but which is honestly more targeted at people who want only the most basic cable TV access without having to deal with cable companies. Dish’s founder (and soon-to-return CEO) recognizes Sling’s limits and says that Sony’s forthcoming streaming service is likely to be the real marketplace disruptor.

In a call with investors earlier this week, Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen — who will soon return to the CEO seat of the company he founded after Joe Clayton retires — admitted that because Sony is not currently a player in the pay-TV market, its TV service will be something that consumers could reasonably ditch their cable package for.

“When Sony launches their product, that will really be a replacement [for pay-TV],” he explained, according to “Because Sony isn’t an incumbent of the current environment, I think that will really impact the MVPD [multichannel video programming distributor; basically, cable TV] market.”

“They’re more apt to be disruptive,” said Ergen. “We’re just interested in incremental business.”

The Dish founder clarified that this isn’t to downplay Sling’s importance. In his view, Sling isn’t intended to be a replacement for cable packages but is “part of a strategy to distribute video on a more mobile… wireless basis,” adding “that’s the way the next generation is going to watch television.”

And he may have a good point, as many young consumers have grown up watching programming on-demand on their tablets, computers, and phones, and may not have the same ties to traditional live TV that older generations have.

So a product like Sling would give someone what the ability to bring a bit of live TV with them everywhere without having to buy a separate pay-TV package, but people who want the cable TV experience from someone other than their pay-TV provider may want the Sony service, which is rumored to be more robust and more expensive than Sling.

As always, much of this is speculation. Until Sony actually goes live with their service, we won’t know.

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