Sling TV has long played an important role in Dish Network, but thanks to a change in leadership, we get a sense of how important the streaming service is to the pay-TV provider.
Gary Schanman, the executive vice president and group president for Sling TV, posted on LinkedIn earlier this week that he had been tasked to oversee Dish TV, and serves as the new group president of video services.
“Thanks to my Dish peers and leaders for giving me the opportunity to drive profitable growth and customer satisfaction across all of our TV businesses. Excited for this next chapter in the history of Dish,” he said.
That Schanman has gone from running Sling TV to all of Dish’s video services — the company’s core business — speaks to outsized importance that streaming is to a company that still gets a majority of its revenue from satellite TV subscribers. He will have to deal with a landscape in which consumers are cutting the cord at a higher rate, with many increasingly savvy about their options online.
That trend has manifested itself with a mass defection of customers, an issue that Schanman needs to address. DISH has lost more than 515,000 TV subscribers so far in the first half of 2023, or about 2,800 subscribers lost every single day. That’s a big loss for a company that has over still has over 6.9 million subscribers paying for its Dish TV service, with 2 million Sling TV customers. The tally makes the company the 4th largest provider of live TV services in the United States.
Dish did see the number of subscribers losses narrow to 197,000 in the second quarter, compared with a loss of 318,000 subscribers in the first quarter. Its a noticeable improvement for DISH as it fights the growth of cord cutting and the rise of on-demand streaming services, and something Schanman will be tasked to continue.
This also comes at a time when DISH is leaning heavily into 5G as it tries to build out its 5G network to diversify the company. But with that business also losing subscribers and its own 5G service fairly invisible, the core video services will have to pick up the pace.
Schanman joined Dish in 2022 to run the Sling TV business after starting GBMonday, a telecom and media consultant specializing in the use of technology. Prior to that, he held executive roles at Charter Communications, Cablevision, Comcast and was a consultant at PwC. He also served as chief product officer for Common Sense Networks and its children’s streaming service, Sensical.