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Inside Charlie's Brain - what's he planning?


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41 replies to this topic

#21 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 05:57 PM

Why surprised? Dish is selling a solid product for a competitive price. Their HDDVRs are rock solid, they have a good channel lineup available and their customer service is easier to deal with more often than not.

What did DISH do in 1Q 2011 that they have not been doing the previous three quarters? Ignore what has happened since March 31st - 1st quarter is 1st quarter.

I did not see any reason why 1Q would be any better than the previous three. 19k net loss 2Q 2010, 29k net loss 3Q 2010, 156k net loss 4Q 2010.

The last time DISH ended a year with three net loss quarters (2008) they followed the total 137k net loss with an additional net loss of 94k - making for a four quarter net loss of 231k. This time the year ended with three net loss quarters totaling 204k. Why not expect a fourth quarter of loss?

What did DISH do to stop the bleeding?

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#22 OFFLINE   rasheed

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 08:54 PM

What did DISH do to stop the bleeding?


I wish Dish would break out international subscribers. I think a number of international offerings have started to 'break-out' in 2011 that might be much more profitable customers than the traditional AT120 alone.

1) Tamil Package no longer on DirecTV (and Dish adding News Corp. Tamil channel). Let's say there are 70k people who speak Tamil in the US. How many of the 18k households did not already have Dish who finally made the switch?

2) Cricket (not language specific) AND loss of some cricket packages on DirecTV. I have no idea how many thousands of households that would be.

3) More hindi channels. There are 580k speakers between Urdu and Hindi in the US. How many of those 100k + households did not already have Dish?

There are other posts elsewhere about Ergen getting rid of RSNs. Sure, people who want RSNs would find another carrier, but there are enough people who do without it (those who use Netflix and/or Hulu with OTA sports as examples).

So, if Ergan is going for a company that has:

-Choice for the consumer (streaming Blockbuster/Move/DishOnline/IPTV or satellite packages - primarily international focus or general interest with HD, but not US RSN-focused or any expensive sports for that matter)
-More competitive priced packages (let's face it, general interest packages are not really priced much differently..it is a few dollars this way or that, but not enough to create a mass change to go to one providers esp. when it is never apples to apples)

I am in general supportive of these type of changes if it is more profitable, but it will turn off segments of the population. Dish already does not fit everyone, it will further be a do not fit for even more groups, but maybe attract others who are still sitting with the other vendors.

Yet, a major problem to solve I still believe is real high speed broadband. Whether it is done through Dish's spectrum license, Hughesnet or something, we need to be able to get more uncapped high speed bandwidth otherwise all of this streaming is useless (and it cannot depend on the local cable or phone provider). I find it ironic that television satellites actually are a massive broadband pipe, but it is not used enough in this respect (except for VOD, remote scheduling and a few things here and there). Why not stream DishOnline through the satellite box and switch to a satellite feed from Internet connection (or stored locally on preloaded media EHD) and make the experience even better with much less dependency on local bandwidth through a third-party vendor?

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#23 OFFLINE   satcrazy

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 11:34 PM

The last paragraph in rasheed's post is realy the KEY.

After looking at sat internet for my sister who lives out in the country [ her dsl is horrible] It is actually a worse deal than what she has. Not only is it pricey, but the download is not impressive, and upload is terrible. It caps your usage as well. The equipment is not cheap. This would have to radically change to be profitable.

The dsl where I live only offers 2 plans and they are both slow. I have tried streaming [ I have a new cutom built computer, but it doesn't matter] and it is not a viable option for me. As of now fios is a distant dream.

So for all this to work, Rasheed is correct.

#24 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 01:36 AM

Rasheed's last paragraph is right on. Let me repeat what I said earlier:

Charlie also has acquired:

  • DBSD North America Inc., a provider of voice and data services over satellite;
  • Hughes Communications, giving Dish the ability to offer broadband services; and,
  • Move Networks Inc., which makes technology for streaming video online.

What we're looking at here is engineering and technology resources. And that doesn't even consider all that wireless spectrum and some related infrastructure he's acquired.

And Rasheed is probably correct on the international packages. Just as we know that Dish has solid but not cheap HD premium movie package offerings that don't drive up the basic package prices, international packages and related specialized sports offerings are also "premium" packages that don't drive up the basic package prices.

Unfortunately, Charlie may not have deep enough pockets to fight the major media conglomerates like Disney and Fox in Congress. But I really believe he does fight against those huge corporations to keep the service prices reasonable and is looking for ways to effectively challenge runaway media conglomerate corporate greed.

"In a hundred years there'll be a whole new set of people."
"Always poke the bears. They sleep too much for their own good."

"If you're good enough, they'll talk about you." - Tom Harmon
A GEEZER who remembers watching TV in 1951 and was an Echostar customer from 1988 to 2008, now a Dish Network customer.
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#25 OFFLINE   lparsons21

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 07:02 AM

What did DISH do in 1Q 2011 that they have not been doing the previous three quarters? Ignore what has happened since March 31st - 1st quarter is 1st quarter.

I did not see any reason why 1Q would be any better than the previous three. 19k net loss 2Q 2010, 29k net loss 3Q 2010, 156k net loss 4Q 2010.

The last time DISH ended a year with three net loss quarters (2008) they followed the total 137k net loss with an additional net loss of 94k - making for a four quarter net loss of 231k. This time the year ended with three net loss quarters totaling 204k. Why not expect a fourth quarter of loss?

What did DISH do to stop the bleeding?


Fair question, I don't know if I have the answers, but here is some things I think had an effect.

Prior to first quarter lots of contention between E* and the content providers which caused some/many to leave because it was with channels they cared about. During the first quarter most all of that had settled down with the only national HD effected being the Disney/ESPN dispute. That particular dispute generated very little action on the part of customers in part because the parents of the children watching Disney found out the kids didn't care if it was HD or not.

I think that the channel disputes were the big thing and caused the gain to happen. Coupled with some better advertising (IMO).

I also think that E*'s better national HD became a bigger part of the picture as many of the cable systems were adding in national HD while D* was sitting on their laurels in that arena. Coupled with that was that E* expanded their locals in HD to many more markets. In those markets, that was a big leg up.

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#26 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 10:03 AM

What did DISH do in 1Q 2011 that they have not been doing the previous three quarters? Ignore what has happened since March 31st - 1st quarter is 1st quarter.

I did not see any reason why 1Q would be any better than the previous three. 19k net loss 2Q 2010, 29k net loss 3Q 2010, 156k net loss 4Q 2010.

The last time DISH ended a year with three net loss quarters (2008) they followed the total 137k net loss with an additional net loss of 94k - making for a four quarter net loss of 231k. This time the year ended with three net loss quarters totaling 204k. Why not expect a fourth quarter of loss?

What did DISH do to stop the bleeding?

Maybe nothing much beyond being cheaper than Comcast, TWC, etc. It appears the gains were part of a trend. From The Morning Bridge:

If cord cutting is coming, it sure isn't happening in the first quarter of 2011.

Looking at video subscriber numbers reported by nine of the top 14 MVPDs, we find that their basic pay TV video subs grew by more than half a million in the three months from Jan. 1 to March 31, 2011.

Posted Image


"In a hundred years there'll be a whole new set of people."
"Always poke the bears. They sleep too much for their own good."

"If you're good enough, they'll talk about you." - Tom Harmon
A GEEZER who remembers watching TV in 1951 and was an Echostar customer from 1988 to 2008, now a Dish Network customer.
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#27 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 11:49 PM

I must admit I missed the fact that Dish Network bought a phone/internet company ... well, a reseller ... in December. This has some meaning, but what I'm not sure. See the thread Report: Dish to offer phone, broadband bundles.

"In a hundred years there'll be a whole new set of people."
"Always poke the bears. They sleep too much for their own good."

"If you're good enough, they'll talk about you." - Tom Harmon
A GEEZER who remembers watching TV in 1951 and was an Echostar customer from 1988 to 2008, now a Dish Network customer.
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My Blog: The Redwood Guardian


#28 OFFLINE   Dave

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Posted 08 May 2011 - 11:54 AM

Some have been wondering where Charlie is going with buying up different resources. Perhaps Charlie is planning to get in on the bottom line of the future.
Examples: A pew poll says that now only 42% see a TV as a nesessity.
The younger generation18-29 only 29% actually need a TV.
In the very near future streaming will outlast a DVD Blu-ray player.
Computers now top the list for need to have over a TV with the younger generation.
Charlie has the google box for streaming different sources. He has purchased Blockbuster to get the titles of movies. I think if he, Charlie works it right that he hopes Blockbuster can compete with Amazon and Netflix one day.
He also has the Sling box for TV everywhere which is where the next generation is headed. Young people want TV to there cell phones these days.
He has bought a phone company. Do you think the purchase of the phone company would be so his customers do not pay the large streaming charges that are coming for cable and DSL companies now everyday?
So I would say to some of you out there, Charlie has a excellent team around him. They are continually planning ahead. Which is what a successful company does at all times.
I would say that Charlie Ergan is helping to make the future a reality for us Dish customers.

#29 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 11:31 PM

From Mediabiz Blogger Maxwell:

Last Friday morning I quietly tagged along on a reporters visit with DISH’s Vivek Khemka, the thoughtful head of customer tech; Stanton “Principled Company” Dodge, chief legal eagle; and EVP sales/marketing/programming and long time cable guy Tom Cullen ... all with a show floor tour at DISH’s Team Summit in Denver.

Besides some real news [3-free months of Blockbuster by Mail for new DISH subs; DISH will be a “2-brand company”; the too cool to be real Tailgater dish in a ‘cooler’ (see pic); free Sling for some; and testing its own triple play bundle via CLEC subsidiary Liberty Bell in Colorado soon - with rights to most of what was Qwest territory], what was most interesting to me was Tom’s offhand mentioning of residential market segmentation by technology.

For a long time of course, MVPDs have been market segmenting by programming packages driven partly by demographics and/or price ... and getting more sophisticated about it every year.

DISH has been a leader in market segmentation by ethnicity ... I’m not sure they didn’t significantly contribute to Adelphia’s internal collapse as they targeted LA with Hispanic program packages as DISH launched. Since then, they’ve been pretty good at targeting language segments aggressively.

But most of the ‘techno-targeting” has been confined to early adopters or high income households.

Now comes a simplified remote for one end of the spectrum and better segmentation targeting to TVHHs with a variety of screens ... something we’re just at the start of ... more tablets are coming in a variety of screen sizes; same for smartphones ... not to mention old fashioned TV sets.

The segmentation targeting related to a variety screens I get. Now what is the simplified remote????

"In a hundred years there'll be a whole new set of people."
"Always poke the bears. They sleep too much for their own good."

"If you're good enough, they'll talk about you." - Tom Harmon
A GEEZER who remembers watching TV in 1951 and was an Echostar customer from 1988 to 2008, now a Dish Network customer.
My AV Setup
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My Blog: The Redwood Guardian


#30 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 05:46 PM

From The Morning Bridge:

Already known for its aggressive litigation policies (it's a "profit center," Charlie Ergen once half-joked) DISH Network has hired Redgrave LLP as its National Discovery Counsel in order to enhance its "best in class program in eDiscovery."

What's that? you may ask. According to Wikipedia, the term refers to "discovery in civil litigation which deals with the exchange of information in electronic format." In short, mining (storing and using) various electronic treasure troves for use in litigation. Says the press release, the Redgrave group offers clients "the technical advice, business strategy, legal advice and legal representation needed to address immediate and future regulatory, legal, risk, environmental and operational requirements." Says the Redgrave website, "We help clients respond in 'bet the company' litigation and government investigations."

In short, expect that aggressive legal approach to continue.


"In a hundred years there'll be a whole new set of people."
"Always poke the bears. They sleep too much for their own good."

"If you're good enough, they'll talk about you." - Tom Harmon
A GEEZER who remembers watching TV in 1951 and was an Echostar customer from 1988 to 2008, now a Dish Network customer.
My AV Setup
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My Blog: The Redwood Guardian


#31 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 10:28 AM

The Morning Bridge feesl that we're getting clarity on Charlie's big-picture plan:

During the past several months, DISH went on its heavily-reported spending spree dropping $3B for wireless spectrum and another $320M for bankrupt Blockbuster. The company's moves seemed ambiguous to many, but DISH CEO Joe Clayton offered some clarity this week by saying - to, among others, the LA Times - the satellite company is assembling the building blocks of a multiplatform media giant ... as The BRIDGE newsletters have been covering.

Next on the agenda, the exec says, is a full suite of services including wireless voice, broadband, video and mobile... With the expanded services, DISH could well develop into a competitor for AT&T and Verizon, not to mention a snowballing movie-streaming service like Netflix with its impressive subscriber base.

The LA Times article doesn't offer much beyond that one statement:

"We are putting together the building blocks to be able to provide a whole suite of services to the customer," Dish President and Chief Executive Joe Clayton said. "Wireless voice, broadband, video, mobile … we're going to have the capability to do all of the above."


"In a hundred years there'll be a whole new set of people."
"Always poke the bears. They sleep too much for their own good."

"If you're good enough, they'll talk about you." - Tom Harmon
A GEEZER who remembers watching TV in 1951 and was an Echostar customer from 1988 to 2008, now a Dish Network customer.
My AV Setup
My Slingbox Pro HD Experience
My Blog: The Redwood Guardian


#32 OFFLINE   karrank%

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 08:52 PM

Too bad he couldn't have something in place to take advantage of Netflix price hike. I can almost divine the intent, but the timing (to paraphrase an old showbiz saw) is everything.

#33 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 11:41 PM

Businessweek yesterday published an article with the same headline as the title of this post but with a sub headline "Founder Charlie Ergen is creating a media empire based on delivery of video and data." The article is long and takes note of the more recent business moves made by Ergen's empire. From the article:

Posted Image


Charlie W. Ergen is no stranger to risky bets. The former professional blackjack player parlayed his early winnings into the second-largest U.S. satellite television service, Dish Network (DISH). Now the 58-year-old billionaire is making the biggest wager of his career. Ergen wants to transform Dish from a pay-TV provider to a wireless mobile video company that can take on both traditional cable rivals and online services such as Netflix (NFLX).

Dish has spent over $3 billion this year on three acquisitions of companies in bankruptcy—including the Blockbuster video chain—to combine video content and the valuable wireless spectrum that could be used to distribute programming to mobile devices like Apple’s iPad. Another Ergen-controlled company, set-top box maker EchoStar (SATS), spent $2 billion this past spring to buy satellite Internet service provider Hughes Communications. In September, Ergen rolled out a Blockbuster-branded movie-streaming service to Dish’s 14 million subscribers. His next addition could be Hulu, the online TV-service owned by News Corp. (NWSA), Walt Disney (DIS), and Comcast’s (CMCSA) NBC Universal. Dish has made a $1.9 billion offer for Hulu, outbidding rivals including Amazon (AMZN) and Yahoo! (YHOO), according to a person familiar with the bidding who was forbidden to speak on the record.

All this could allow Ergen to cobble together what every satellite operator covets: a viable broadband alternative to cable companies such as Time Warner Cable (TWC) or wireless giants like Verizon (VZ). “I don’t think we’re just a satellite TV company anymore,” says Joseph P. Clayton, who took over as Dish Chief Executive Officer in June so Ergen could focus on strategic vision as chairman. “Given the assets we’ve been accumulating, I don’t think it’s hard to see we’re moving in a different direction from simply pay-TV, which is a market that’s becoming increasingly saturated.”

The article continues here.

(I would note that the HULU deal is dead as the owners have pulled the company off the market.)

The article doesn't tell us anything we haven't already noted in thread here, but it is a fairly significant piece within the business media community.

"In a hundred years there'll be a whole new set of people."
"Always poke the bears. They sleep too much for their own good."

"If you're good enough, they'll talk about you." - Tom Harmon
A GEEZER who remembers watching TV in 1951 and was an Echostar customer from 1988 to 2008, now a Dish Network customer.
My AV Setup
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My Blog: The Redwood Guardian


#34 OFFLINE   dishman1999

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 06:15 AM

Hughes Communications if he owns any part of this company then Directv should be a opt for dish network we should be able to get there programing too?

Originally branded as DirecPC and later DirecWay, it originally marketed to business customers as a side venture to the consumer product DirecTV.

#35 OFFLINE   Slamminc11

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 10:12 AM

Hughes Communications if he owns any part of this company then Directv should be a opt for dish network we should be able to get there programing too?

Originally branded as DirecPC and later DirecWay, it originally marketed to business customers as a side venture to the consumer product DirecTV.


:bang :icon_lame :bang

#36 OFFLINE   tampa8

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 10:45 AM

Too bad he couldn't have something in place to take advantage of Netflix price hike. I can almost divine the intent, but the timing (to paraphrase an old showbiz saw) is everything.


In retrospect (Blockbuster Movie Pass Package) he was waaaay ahead of you.... Although I have always maintained this has little to do with Netflix, and much to do about competing with Direct TV and Cable, it would appear this has become a huge hit, I see lots of posts from people ready to or already have dropped Netflix.

#37 OFFLINE   karrank%

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 05:41 PM

In retrospect (Blockbuster Movie Pass Package) he was waaaay ahead of you.... Although I have always maintained this has little to do with Netflix, and much to do about competing with Direct TV and Cable, it would appear this has become a huge hit, I see lots of posts from people ready to or already have dropped Netflix.


That's cool, i posted in August, and BBMP was introduced in October, so timing was reasonably good there, I think.

Still think we are being used as guinea pigs--excuse me, beta testers--for the new BBMP concept, but I don't mind. I'd been ready to go back to NF anyway, either dish marketing somehow knew this or it's a (happy, for me) coinkydink.

#38 OFFLINE   Inkosaurus

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 11:17 PM

Yeah the BBMP came alot faster then we thought it would. Us working at dish didnt think it would be available as much as it is until atleast another few months.

I agree though, this is pretty much a large scale beta test lol.

#39 OFFLINE   dishman1999

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Posted 16 October 2011 - 06:30 AM

:bang :icon_lame :bang


wow jerk!

#40 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 02:28 PM

From The Morning Bridge:

It's award time, folks! Another year is nearing its end. A tsunami of news surged through our computers in 2011 with big deals, big busts and a whole slew of hazards to keep your eye on for next year. So, without further ado, our list of 2011 bests, worsts, most surprising and most foreboding:

Waiting for Machiavelli: Not to be confused with Godot, who never did arrive, our very own Machiavelli (aka Charlie Ergen) has his hands on a whole string of spectrum and everybody wants to know what he's going to do with it. Will the answer be found in 2012? Bet on it.


"In a hundred years there'll be a whole new set of people."
"Always poke the bears. They sleep too much for their own good."

"If you're good enough, they'll talk about you." - Tom Harmon
A GEEZER who remembers watching TV in 1951 and was an Echostar customer from 1988 to 2008, now a Dish Network customer.
My AV Setup
My Slingbox Pro HD Experience
My Blog: The Redwood Guardian





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