It's a little hard to understand why Dish spent less on advertising in this quarter when they took a net subscriber loss in the last quarter.
And this statement is potentially problematic: "The increase in deployment of more advanced set-top boxes, such as HD receivers and HD DVRs, was in large part offset by lower hardware costs for the same receiver model." Since each time I got a 722 it took them two tries to get me one that worked, lower hardware costs to me means "too cheap."
And then there's this "acknowledgment" that first appeared in the 2008 10-K:
We have not always met our own standards for performing high quality installations, effectively resolving customer issues when they arise, answering customer calls in an acceptable timeframe, effectively communicating with our subscriber base, reducing calls driven by the complexity of our business, improving the reliability of certain systems and subscriber equipment, and aligning the interests of certain third party retailers and installers to provide high quality service.
The problem is addressed as follows:
To address our operational inefficiency, we continue to make significant investments in staffing, training, information systems, and other initiatives, primarily in our call center and in-home service businesses. These investments are intended to help combat inefficiencies introduced by the increasing complexity of our business, improve customer satisfaction, reduce churn, increase productivity, and allow us to scale better over the long run. We cannot, however, be certain that our increased spending will ultimately be successful in yielding such returns. In the meantime, we may continue to incur higher costs as a result of both our operational inefficiencies and increased spending.
I have a problem with the term "operational inefficiencies" used in this context. We know that Charlie & Companies intend to promote the ViP922 as the best technological solution for audio/video distribution within your home and wherever you travel. We know that, except for tech nerds like us who hang out on the web in forums like this, Sling technology coupled with a ViP HD DVR is going to require significant user support to be successful. If the objective is for Dish to make significant inroads into the market using technology innovation, the wording should be "we expect to create even more operational inefficiencies in the near future by increasing per subscriber support costs for newer technology which will not necessarily result in greater customer satisfaction with customer service."
When I read on another thread that there are indications that the 922 may be first offered to new customers, all I could think is "Are they going to hire a tech support person for each box sent out?"
But what do I know? I have trouble reconciling the inherent conflicts in the stated business strategy:
Our business strategy is to be the best provider of video services in the United States by providing high-quality products, outstanding customer service, and great value.
- High-Quality Products. We offer a wide selection of local and national programming, featuring more national and local HD channels than most pay-TV providers and the only HD-only programming packages currently available in the industry. We have been a technology leader in our industry, introducing award-winning DVRs, dual tuner receivers, 1080p video on demand, and external hard drives. We plan to leverage Slingbox “placeshifting” technology and other technologies to maintain and improve our competitiveness in the future.
- Outstanding Customer Service. We strive to provide outstanding customer service by improving the quality of the initial installation of subscriber equipment, improving the reliability of our equipment, better educating our customers about our products and services, and resolving customer problems promptly and effectively when they do arise.
- Great Value. We have historically been viewed as the low-cost provider in the pay-TV industry because we offer the lowest everyday prices available to consumers after introductory promotions expire. We believe that a key factor to being a value leader in the industry is our low cost structure which is an asset we continuously strive to maintain.