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They say the service will never make it because: (a) It's a "me-too" offering in an already crowded field; (b) It's too expensive; (c) Sears is no place to launch a high-end offering; and (d) It lacks a full complement of programming.
On the "me too," for example, Cablevision, Rainbow and VOOM big kahuna Chuck Dolan insists that this is NOT a copy cat, but rather a new category aimed at HD. We're mixed on that one. But let's not forget that when DBS launched, the cable guys did the same me-too yawn. And look where that got them. As for the too expensive .... anyone out there remember what DirecTV cost on its first go-round? $799.99; and that was back in 1994. Ten years later at $749.99, VOOM doesn't look all that out of whack to us (if you grant them the "newness" part).
Now Sears as the starting place for a high-end service.... That is akin to selling caviar in a donut shop. But then Sears anted up significantly for the privilege, good only through this January. With start-ups, we'd say, upfront money can cover a lot of sins. And finally, on the lack of a full programming slate ...
This is the tough one. The new VOOM equipment comes with an antenna for over-the-air HD broadcasts which might, at some point, ameliorate the programming slate problem. Also, Cablevision has applied for several Ka-Band slots that would certainly boost capacity. But even more intriguing, we've now had three close industry observers sidle up with whispers about a possible VOOM match-up with yet another DBS player. In short, Pegasus. Although wounded by DISH local-channe incursions, Pegasus still boasts around 1.2 million DirecTV subs – and the company would, of course, argue that those subs "belong" to PGTV.