Struggling Dish Network, which for the first time in its 12-year-history reported a losing quarter Monday, once again is casting longing looks—a la 2001—at rival DirecTV and a possible merger. Also a first for Dish on Monday, a loss of subscribers; the satellite service saw 25,000 winking lights go out in its second quarter. Dish is losing some lower-end customers who are feeling the pinch of a tight economy, but is really starting to hurt from the AT&T loss as a distribution channel. AT&T in July said it was dropping Dish as a provider partner as of Dec. 31. That put Dish on equal footing with DirecTV fighting for AT&T’s business.
Dish CEO Charles Ergen contends the company can get by without AT&T. That may be so, but it sure as heck helps the bottom line to have another sales force working for you … of course, as AT&T’s U-verse expands, Dish may be falling back to Earth anyway. Dish and DirecTV are facing increasing pressure from cable companies and telcos stringing their fiber in an ever-expanding web, and offering increasing amounts of programming.
See the Wall Street Journal story