Dish shrinks pay TV subscriber losses to 133,000 in Q4 . . . (1 Viewer)

NashGuy

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Dish adds subs every quarter... Like DTV though, they lose more than they add as people move to streaming or OTA, and therein lies the problem.
Yes. And as PortlandChris explains above, folks are also leaving satellite for cable TV bundled in with their broadband for a lower total price. Comcast, for instance, takes $20 off the combined price on a regular continuing basis if you have two types of service from them (and $30 off if you have three). My parents have had DISH for TV and Comcast for broadband for years but every time I check, they'd pay less (even after initial new customer promo deals end) if they were to get both TV and broadband from either Comcast or AT&T Fiber.

This is why we've seen much bigger losses in TV subscribers at DirecTV and DISH in the past few years than we've seen at Comcast, Charter, Verizon, Cox, etc.
 

NYDutch

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Yes. And as PortlandChris explains above, folks are also leaving satellite for cable TV bundled in with their broadband for a lower total price. Comcast, for instance, takes $20 off the combined price on a regular continuing basis if you have two types of service from them (and $30 off if you have three). My parents have had DISH for TV and Comcast for broadband for years but every time I check, they'd pay less (even after initial new customer promo deals end) if they were to get both TV and broadband from either Comcast or AT&T Fiber.

This is why we've seen much bigger losses in TV subscribers at DirecTV and DISH in the past few years than we've seen at Comcast, Charter, Verizon, Cox, etc.
Yes, I did fail to include the cable operators that appear to be losing less to cord cutters than DBS, although both are seeing record negative numbers. As a subscriber with no access to the cable bundles, I don't follow them as closely as I do DBS and cell Internet offerings.
 
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PortlandChris

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Not every single game is on the Regional Sports Channels, though. Also, some people subscribe to the out-of-market sports packages, and are just fine with watching other markets' teams. So, without knowing what packages sam_gordon subscribes to (or which specific sports were being referenced in that post) it really is a moot point.
My original statement was all about Regional Sports Channels, and I said DISH booted 90% of them. It's probably higher. But this is the point. This entire customer line is shut down on DISH. And you can save $40-$50 monthly with comparable cable packages AND get internet - and with cable you do get your RSN.

So when people wonder why DISH has lost so many customers this is a BIG part.
 

crodrules

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My original statement was all about Regional Sports Channels, and I said DISH booted 90% of them.
Your original statement was:
DISH booted almost all RSNs and made it so anyone who wants to watch sports can no longer do so.
This is the part to which sam_gordon was replying. I was simply pointing out that there are still other ways to watch at least some sports on Dish, even without the RSN's.
 
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Juan

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My original statement was all about Regional Sports Channels, and I said DISH booted 90% of them. It's probably higher. But this is the point. This entire customer line is shut down on DISH. And you can save $40-$50 monthly with comparable cable packages AND get internet - and with cable you do get your RSN.

So when people wonder why DISH has lost so many customers this is a BIG part.
Its also why their profits and cashflow increased
 

sam_gordon

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My original statement was all about Regional Sports Channels, and I said DISH booted 90% of them. It's probably higher. But this is the point. This entire customer line is shut down on DISH. And you can save $40-$50 monthly with comparable cable packages AND get internet - and with cable you do get your RSN.

So when people wonder why DISH has lost so many customers this is a BIG part.
As crodules said, I was replying to the part of your post that said "Dish... made it so anyone who wants to watch sports can no longer do so." I'm "anyone", and I've watched sports on Dish. Obviously I wasn't watching RSNs, but there are other sports carried on Dish. Just because they don't satisfy you doesn't mean no one else watches them.
 
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PortlandChris

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Sep 24, 2012
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Your original statement was:

This is the part to which sam_gordon was replying. I was simply pointing out that there are still other ways to watch at least some sports on Dish, even without the RSN's.
So you cut out half of my statement and then argue with me over what I said - by reading half my statement?

Look, the people that want RSNs will NEVER EVER be satisfied with the TNT NBA game of the week.

And the point is you can get cable AND your RSNs for CHEAPER than DISH. And these people have left now. DISH is dropping subs like crazy.

DISH works for people in rural areas without access to cable or internet. DISH is a great product, but with fewer and fewer customers the economic model does not work. There are fixed costs that have to be spread across fewer and fewer customers.

And streaming is a failed model as well if there are data caps. DISH's last salvo is to make some kind of bundle work with it's new wireless service - whether it be direct satellite or streaming through wirel4ess.

Back in the day we signed up for satellite for two reasons: (1) it was CHEAPER, and (2) we could get channels we could not get elsewhere - out of market locals, out of market sports games, and to some extent the east versions of satellite channels out west (so we got stuff 3 hours earlier). Today it is not cheaper, we can no longer get out of market locals, and we can no longer get out of market sports games.
 

PortlandChris

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As crodules said, I was replying to the part of your post that said "Dish... made it so anyone who wants to watch sports can no longer do so." I'm "anyone", and I've watched sports on Dish. Obviously I wasn't watching RSNs, but there are other sports carried on Dish. Just because they don't satisfy you doesn't mean no one else watches them.
My entire post was focused on DISH dropping RSNs, so you can't cut out half of what I said and then argue the remainder is not true.

I never once said no one was watching national sports channels - I said the guy watching RSNs will never ever be satisfied with a single game of the week on ESPN and TNT. IF he wants his sports channel he can easily get it - by going to cable and paying less overall. It is a no brainer right now.

DISH will continue to work for rural customers. The question is can this model - rural only - survive?
 

PortlandChris

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Its also why their profits and cashflow increased
In the short term it increased because some customers did not react fast enough. And during the pandemic no sports were being played initially. Now it is abundantly clear DISH is done with RSNs, and if you want your sports you must go elsewhere. AND it is cheaper elsewhere.

DISH has millions of people locked into contracts. Those people pay DISH no matter what. DISH drops all of its programming. DISH has a profit. But next quarter/year, etc, people say WTF, I am out of here. SO yeah, DISH pumped short term profits.

The other part of this is rural customers have few options. Part of this is DISH dropped giving incentives to some customers that are stuck with them anyway.

DISH works for customers in rural areas. Can DISH sustain on fewer and fewer customers? In the long term, no. There will be a shake out in this industry. It is coming.
 

Juan

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In the short term it increased because some customers did not react fast enough. And during the pandemic no sports were being played initially. Now it is abundantly clear DISH is done with RSNs, and if you want your sports you must go elsewhere. AND it is cheaper elsewhere.

DISH has millions of people locked into contracts. Those people pay DISH no matter what. DISH drops all of its programming. DISH has a profit. But next quarter/year, etc, people say WTF, I am out of here. SO yeah, DISH pumped short term profits.

The other part of this is rural customers have few options. Part of this is DISH dropped giving incentives to some customers that are stuck with them anyway.

DISH works for customers in rural areas. Can DISH sustain on fewer and fewer customers? In the long term, no. There will be a shake out in this industry. It is coming.
EVERYONE was paying for RSN's if they had at200 or higher
 

PortlandChris

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EVERYONE was paying for RSN's if they had at200 or higher
Yes they were. Never said they were not.

Providers can maintain low costs IF they can find a way to spread those fixed costs over a lot of subs. Otherwise, costs have to go up because fixed costs cannot go away.

So at the end do the increased costs of having the RSNs - which gives DISH more customers - offset the ability to spread fixed costs against fewer subscribers? This is the question. and we will find out in time.

Rural customers will pay more. They have few options. Urban customers have a plethora of options and the ability to lower costs. Can DISH survive on rural customers alone? It can, but costs will be huge for those subscribers.

Short term DISH can boot all of it's customers and many are locked into contracts. So yeah, DISH will make some cash here. But fewer customers will sign up and everyone will leave as the contract comes up. I flat agreed with Charlie Ergen in not renewing sports deals during the pandemic last year - no sports were being played, so why pay the bill? But as those leagues came online, well it all changed. As contracts lapse, people are leaving in droves.
 

Juan

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Yes they were. Never said they were not.

Providers can maintain low costs IF they can find a way to spread those fixed costs over a lot of subs. Otherwise, costs have to go up because fixed costs cannot go away.

So at the end do the increased costs of having the RSNs - which gives DISH more customers - offset the ability to spread fixed costs against fewer subscribers? This is the question. and we will find out in time.

Rural customers will pay more. They have few options. Urban customers have a plethora of options and the ability to lower costs. Can DISH survive on rural customers alone? It can, but costs will be huge for those subscribers.

Short term DISH can boot all of it's customers and many are locked into contracts. So yeah, DISH will make some cash here. But fewer customers will sign up and everyone will leave as the contract comes up. I flat agreed with Charlie Ergen in not renewing sports deals during the pandemic last year - no sports were being played, so why pay the bill? But as those leagues came online, well it all changed. As contracts lapse, people are leaving in droves.
As long as dish is making gobs of money..nothing changes..translated..losses from rsn customers not that bad..especially when your competitor.which carries every sport is bleeding just as badly if not worse
 

NashGuy

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Mar 24, 2009
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In the short term it increased because some customers did not react fast enough. And during the pandemic no sports were being played initially. Now it is abundantly clear DISH is done with RSNs, and if you want your sports you must go elsewhere. AND it is cheaper elsewhere.

DISH has millions of people locked into contracts. Those people pay DISH no matter what. DISH drops all of its programming. DISH has a profit. But next quarter/year, etc, people say WTF, I am out of here. SO yeah, DISH pumped short term profits.

The other part of this is rural customers have few options. Part of this is DISH dropped giving incentives to some customers that are stuck with them anyway.

DISH works for customers in rural areas. Can DISH sustain on fewer and fewer customers? In the long term, no. There will be a shake out in this industry. It is coming.
Yes, satellite TV is increasingly just for rural dwellers who have no other real options for pay TV since they aren't wired for cable and can't access decent broadband. AT&T publicly admitted over a year ago that, with the launch of AT&T TV, the focus of DirecTV was shifting to rural/no-broadband areas. Same for DISH.

As for DISH dropping certain channels to keep prices down -- RSNs, HBO & Cinemax, etc. -- it makes sense, IMO. Because DISH has always played the role of the more value-focused satellite operator while DTV has been the pricier high-end provider, especially catering to sports lovers. (Although I would say that DISH has definitely surpassed DTV in terms of better quality customer-facing tech with their Hopper in recent years.) So the channel-dumping on DISH's part further differentiates them from DTV as the cheaper, skinnier option. If RSNs or HBO are must-haves and satellite is your only option, you pay more and go with DTV. If you don't care about those things and want to save money, you go with DISH. (DISH also lets you drop locals and pay $12/mo less if you want, while DTV does not.)

Anyhow, as to the future of DISH and DTV as they continue to lose customers (especially in cities and suburbs), Charlie Ergen is right that it's inevitable that those two businesses eventually merge. At some point, as their subscriber bases dwindle, it will become necessary for survival, as was the case for satellite radio operators Sirius and XM, which merged years ago.

As you may know, AT&T just announced that they sold a 30% stake in their cable TV businesses, of which DTV is the largest by far, to an investor group. And when the deal was announced, they said that they will remain open to the possibility of a future deal to fully spin off DTV in a merger with DISH. I think everyone knows it's coming at some point. It's just a matter of when, and if the government will allow it and, if so, with what conditions. I tend to think we won't see it happen for at least another two years, at which point DTV will have completed their exclusivity arrangement with NFL Sunday Ticket (ending with the 2022 season). In the meantime, they'll likely try to shift some of those DTV subscribers who have broadband over to AT&T TV.

IDK if DISH would want to purchase DTV. Seems more likely that Ergen would spin off DISH and AT&T spin off DTV into a joint venture that would merge the two and ride them off into the sunset together. That would give Ergen cash to spend on 5G.
 

PortlandChris

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Sep 24, 2012
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Portland, OR
As long as dish is making gobs of money..nothing changes..translated..losses from rsn customers not that bad..especially when your competitor.which carries every sport is bleeding just as badly if not worse
DISH is not making gobs of money.
Yes, satellite TV is increasingly just for rural dwellers who have no other real options for pay TV since they aren't wired for cable and can't access decent broadband. AT&T publicly admitted over a year ago that, with the launch of AT&T TV, the focus of DirecTV was shifting to rural/no-broadband areas. Same for DISH.

As for DISH dropping certain channels to keep prices down -- RSNs, HBO & Cinemax, etc. -- it makes sense, IMO. Because DISH has always played the role of the more value-focused satellite operator while DTV has been the pricier high-end provider, especially catering to sports lovers. (Although I would say that DISH has definitely surpassed DTV in terms of better quality customer-facing tech with their Hopper in recent years.) So the channel-dumping on DISH's part further differentiates them from DTV as the cheaper, skinnier option. If RSNs or HBO are must-haves and satellite is your only option, you pay more and go with DTV. If you don't care about those things and want to save money, you go with DISH. (DISH also lets you drop locals and pay $12/mo less if you want, while DTV does not.)

Anyhow, as to the future of DISH and DTV as they continue to lose customers (especially in cities and suburbs), Charlie Ergen is right that it's inevitable that those two businesses eventually merge. At some point, as their subscriber bases dwindle, it will become necessary for survival, as was the case for satellite radio operators Sirius and XM, which merged years ago.

As you may know, AT&T just announced that they sold a 30% stake in their cable TV businesses, of which DTV is the largest by far, to an investor group. And when the deal was announced, they said that they will remain open to the possibility of a future deal to fully spin off DTV in a merger with DISH. I think everyone knows it's coming at some point. It's just a matter of when, and if the government will allow it and, if so, with what conditions. I tend to think we won't see it happen for at least another two years, at which point DTV will have completed their exclusivity arrangement with NFL Sunday Ticket (ending with the 2022 season). In the meantime, they'll likely try to shift some of those DTV subscribers who have broadband over to AT&T TV.

IDK if DISH would want to purchase DTV. Seems more likely that Ergen would spin off DISH and AT&T spin off DTV into a joint venture that would merge the two and ride them off into the sunset together. That would give Ergen cash to spend on 5G.
Well - here's the deal - if you drop RSNs and pay channels like HBO you will lose customers. You will.

Dropping RSNs and pay channels will drop your variable costs, but it increases your fixed costs per subscriber because many will terminate. Satellites and related infrastructure is expensive to maintain. You NEED a lot of customers to make the per person price low.

You will notice that low cost satellite provider Orby failed today; Orby charged $40 for bare bones channels, no fluff, no sports. DISH will absorb most of those customers - manipulating the short term sign up numbers.

Back in the day we went to satellite because of two main reasons: (1) it was cheaper, and (2) we could get MORE content - locals from all over AND sports channels from ALL over. OR, you went to satellite because you were rural. Not true today.
 

navychop

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I am suburban, just outside George Mason University. Certainly not rural.

Dish gives me a better overall deal than FiOS or (shudder) Cox.

I don’t watch sports, and watch few movies. So I’ll probably be with Dish until they fold. I’m not alone. Many of my neighbors prefer satellite.
 

NashGuy

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Mar 24, 2009
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Nashville, TN USA
DISH is not making gobs of money.

Well - here's the deal - if you drop RSNs and pay channels like HBO you will lose customers. You will.

Dropping RSNs and pay channels will drop your variable costs, but it increases your fixed costs per subscriber because many will terminate. Satellites and related infrastructure is expensive to maintain. You NEED a lot of customers to make the per person price low.

You will notice that low cost satellite provider Orby failed today; Orby charged $40 for bare bones channels, no fluff, no sports. DISH will absorb most of those customers - manipulating the short term sign up numbers.

Back in the day we went to satellite because of two main reasons: (1) it was cheaper, and (2) we could get MORE content - locals from all over AND sports channels from ALL over. OR, you went to satellite because you were rural. Not true today.
Back in the day, a lot of folks who had other options (e.g. local cable company) went to satellite because it offered better picture quality and better technology/equipment, plus access to every channel under the sun, some of which weren't available from the local cableco. For many, especially those who went with DTV, opting for satellite wasn't mainly about saving money (in fact, it may not have been cheaper at all), it was about getting a better product.

As for DISH's decision to drop RSNs, I still say it makes sense. It helped DISH to hold the line on price increases. Fixed costs account for very little of the monthly price a customer pays, it almost all comes down to variable costs, i.e. programming costs. The great majority of cable TV subscribers don't care about RSNs. Sure, some folks have left DISH because they no longer offer RSNs. But others have stayed (or joined) because of DISH pricing that's more attractive to them than DTV (which still has RSNs). Both DISH and DTV have bled subscribers in recent years, but I think it's been worse at DTV.
 

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