Dish yesterday released its 2021 fourth quarter report which showed the company losing a net of 273,000 video subscribers. Sling TV lost approximately 70,000 while Dish’s satellite TV service lost around 200,000. At the end of the quarter, Dish had 10.77 million subscribers with 8.22 million for satellite and 2.49 million for Sling.
Following the report’s release, Dish executives took questions from industry analysts and journalists on a variety of topics, including whether Dish will merge with DIRECTV and the channel blackouts that have impacted Dish’s subscriber numbers over the last few years.
As usual, Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen was the dominant speaker during the event and here are the highlights of his remarks:
Ergen suggested that Dish lost a significant number of customers due to its carriage dispute with Tegna. The satcaster last year lost 64 Tegna stations before the companies settled this month.
“I’ve always felt that anytime you get to a program dispute, it’s a lose-lose situation,” Ergen said. “It’s never a win situation for one guy or the other. It’s always a lose-lose situation. Tegna lost the fair amount of capital from us. They probably sold their company a little bit cheaper than they otherwise would have. We obviously lost customers during…obviously, we proved that you can go through a football season without a network…but we did lose some customers who watch the networks and felt they were important.”
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Ergen added that he believes some programmers will go out of business if they don’t lower their carriage fees. Dish has suffered more channel blackouts than any other pay TV provider due to carriage disputes.
“It (carriage fees) will die a death on its own if people try to overcharge for the product,” Ergen said. “And we’ve seen that with other programmers who just refused to see where things were going and at some point, they self-destruct.”
But Ergen said his customers understand why Dish will sometimes undergo blackouts to reduce the cost of acquiring programming.
“Our customers like us, we get high scores in our industry. They hung in there with us,” Ergen said. “Our customers agree that they don’t want their costs going up, and they appreciate the fact that we’re willing to – they’re not willing to not roll over and play dead in negotiations. And at the end of the day, we got to a fair deal with TEGNA that’s beneficial to both parties and beneficial to our consumers so we don’t have to raise the price as much as everybody else is going to have to raise prices.”
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Ergen reiterated that he believes DIRECTV and Dish will eventually merge, a prediction he has made frequently in the past. He added that he believes that federal regulators would now be more inclined to approve the deal because of a new federal program to expand Internet access in rural areas. But Ergen did not give a timetable on when he thinks a merger will occur. The New York Post reported in January that the two companies are discussing a deal.
“I think it’s inevitable that Dish and DIRECTV go together,” Ergen said. “Otherwise, both companies will just melt away, and there’ll be no service for customers. The regulatory reasons to not allow it, don’t exist anymore. So – and I can’t – from a timing perspective, I don’t – I think it’s inevitable. I don’t know on the timing of it, I guess, is what I’d say.”
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As I have said b4…”CHARLIE” is NOT going to put one DIME into AT&T or DIRECTV because…he doesn’t HAVE to. Directv is as good a DEAD. THERE IS A “MINIMUM” NUMBER OF SUBS THAT DERILECtTV needs TO STAY IN BIZ. They are QUICKLY reaching that “POINT OF NO RETURN” and DISH FULL WELL KNOWS THIS.
All they have to do is WAIT till AT&T and DIRECTV is in chapter 11 OR until DIRECTV does what ORBY did and the ONLY “satellite” that you will have “choice” from WILL BE DISH or go pound sand !!
WHEN STREAMING takes over and the internet develops in hill country, you can be CERTAIN that the internet “providers” are B-O-T going the LAST MILE to serve HILLJACK COUNTRY until they have NOTHING better (OR more profitable) to do. Charlie in his SLEEP already ran circles around the soon to be corpse of AT&T and Directclowntv and he spent his time and money on 5 G while the assclowns at AT&T were still scratching their head on “what to /who to/ how to rip off next. AT&T is bleeding to death and SOONER than later ALL will see this clearly. in ANY event SATELLITE TV is good as dead because the ONLY ppl that will use it will be those that DO NOT HAVE INTERNET and that crowd will be WAY TOO SMALL to justify the maint of “SATELLITE” AT&T (Amenrica’s TERMINAL TELECOM ) has already said NO MORE SATELLITES will be launched so, when the ones that are there (which are ALREADY OLD) DIE SO will DIRECTV SATELLITE and the ONLY reason charlie can out last them is because his sats are still “newer” and will die LATER unless the desertions get to critical mass at DISH also…
Sir, THIS is a WENDY’S…
Charlie doesn’t care about anything but his hip pocket
Well if you think ERGAN only care about the $$ then what FEEBLE EXCUSE can you come up with for the SOON to DIE rip off artists at…AT&T…
Charlie is the one talking merger because he needs Direct way more than Direct needs him. Dish is losing subs which means Charlie is losing $$$$$$Direct still ha 3 x the subs so, as far as I, and most Direct subs are concerned, we don’t want no stinking dish that will take away our sports our locals and any other package that happens to disagree … dave hates direct more than I hate biden, and that goes quite a ways you are going to pay big time chas! it aint free…TANSTAAFL
I wish eargen would sell DISH and buy all the supermarket chains in america ! At least he would fight to keep food prices lower,Or maybe gas stations to lower gas prices.