Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Dish in Talks for Internet TV

From WSJ:

Dish Network Corp. has approached several media companies about the possibility of licensing their TV channels for use on a new pay-TV service to be delivered over the Internet, rather than over Dish's satellite system, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen has raised the idea with multiple media companies as part of a broader effort to control rising programming costs. The programming wouldn't include sports channels in its most-basic tier of service, according to the people familiar with the discussions. Sports channels are among the most expensive for cable and satellite operators to carry.

In part, offering channels over the Internet could give Dish more flexibility to exclude channels whose existing contracts with Dish mandate that they appear on the satellite company's most-widely distributed tiers of service.

To save money, the Dish service could also include an antenna to pick up over-the-air broadcasts of major broadcast TV stations, rather than paying them subscription fees, as many cable and satellite companies now do, the people familiar with the discussions added.

The conversations around Dish's service are exploratory, and it is unclear whether Dish will actively seek to launch the service, said the people familiar with the talks. A spokesman for Dish declined to comment on whether the company is pursuing any such service.

Meanwhile, Dish reported on Monday that it lost more video subscribers than expected. Dish lost a net 111,000 subscribers, putting its customer base at 13.9 million as of Sept. 30. The results trailed those of rival DirecTV, which last week reported its best third-quarter subscriber growth in seven years, helped by a National Football League promotion.

Dish's interest in a new Web-delivered programming service, which was reported by the New York Post, comes as various companies in the technology and media industries are exploring ways to put paid-TV on the Internet. Google Inc., for instance, is considering launching a paid-TV service in Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan., as part of a planned high-speed data network.At the same time Dish unveiled a one-time dividend of $2 a share and reported a profit of $319.1 million, or 71 cents a share, up from $245 million, or 55 cents, a year earlier. Revenue rose 12% to $3.6 billion.

Last month, Dish itself launched a Blockbuster-brand video-streaming service, following its acquisition of the video-rental chain's assets. It also offers a suite of foreign channels to U.S. subscribers over the Internet.

Dish's new discussions about a broader Internet-based service are motivated in large by Mr. Ergen's desire to curb ever-growing bills it pays each month for the right to carry channels—especially sports channels, say the people familiar with the conversations about the new service.

"Sports programming may be 20% of the viewing on a day-to-day basis, but it may be 50% of the cost that the consumer pays," Mr. Ergen said on a conference call Monday to discuss Dish's third-quarter results. "I think that there's a limit to where sports costs can go."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really think that that this is the future of TV in so many ways, DISH Network is always ahead of the curve in this regard. I've been working for DISH for a handful of years now and I've been seeing the trend of customers searching for their shows online, it's just more convenient. I love just opening up the laptop and having the ability to watch whatever I want at anytime, that's what I do with the new DISH Online feature, I love it.