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Sling TV offers traditional channels via broadband for $20 a month

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Best of all, no cable company.
Roger Lynch, CEO Sling TV

Targeting the millennial generation, Sling TV – a sister company of DISH Network – announced it will offer a line up of 25 to 30 traditional cable channels via broadband for $20 per month, with no commitment or contract, beginning later this month.

“All you need is a credit card and a broadband connection”, said DISH CEO Joe Clayton. The channels can be streamed on pretty much any device you have: mobile phone, tablet, PC, smart TV and, crucially, streaming devices made by other online television providers like Netflix or Hulu. Or DISH.

For now, the $20 over-the-top package includes ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, ABC Family and CNN, with more announcements expected.

Clayton hinted at flexible offerings as well, promising packages that will “allow customers to tailor their experience”. Not quite ala carte, but getting closer. Sling CEO Roger Lynch was a little less forward leaning on his promises, talking about targeted add-ons to the core $20 package rather than a true you pick ’em service. Upgrades for news and kids programming will be available at launch; an extended sports package is in the works. Lynch said it’ll include additional ESPN channels, but the big – and unanswered – question is whether it’ll also include regional sports networks.

Live programming – particularly sports – is the big hole in the over-the-top content market. As younger viewers look to customisable, on-demand services, Sling’s strategy is to integrate a thin package of the most sought after sports, news and other relentlessly linear content into the viewing habits of the Netflix and Hulu generation.

“New adoption of pay TV is declining, particularly among millennials”, Lynch said. Sling’s solution is to deliver it to them where they already are, rather than fighting the losing battle of trying to force them back into into legacy cable or DBS subscriptions.