Dish looks to capture high-end custom install segment

While most pay-TV operators are focused on high-volume residential sales, Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) has doubled down in recent months on the custom install niche.

This channel, according to Frank DeFilippis, the former AV systems integrator hired by Dish to spearhead the effort, is made up primarily of small, independent companies that specialize in selling and installing integrated AV home entertainment, security and home automation systems.

"Their clients are typically homeowners or small to medium businesses who are interested in expert system design, skilled labor and customized solutions, including premium equipment from established brands," DeFilippis said. "This industry favors individual players who are able to provide high degrees of personal attention for VIP clients, so rollups and franchises are rare."

Asked by FierceInstaller to define the revenue potential for this channel, DeFilippis demured on giving specific projections. He did say that Dish is "bullish' on the channel.

"This is reflected in the many design and technology capabilities we've built into the Hopper [DVR], as well as the channel we've created to support this marketplace," he said.

"The custom install channel has traditionally been underserved by pay-TV providers," he added.

Part of the reason for this, DeFilippis explained, is that custom install clients have different needs and expectations than general market consumers.

"Custom installers tend to favor working with the brands they know, so new equipment can be met with skepticism," he said.

"The pay-TV business is built on subsidized equipment and free installation in exchange for a long-term commitment from a credit-worthy customer," he added "In contrast, CI's sell highly-integrated, customized solutions made up of equipment with limited distribution and highly-skilled labor at full price."

The custom install market is also focused on premium service and equipment quality, rather than volume, DeFilippis explained.

"Pay-TV sales operations are built for volume partners, so new methods and strategies must be considered to properly service this important channel," he added.

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