Dish Network Throws Down Gauntlet At Turner, CBS

Bigger cracks are appearing in the pay TV ecosystem.

Charlie Ergen, chairman of Dish Network, doesn’t think Turner Broadcasting networks are all that special. In a recent earnings phone call, he said programming on TNT and TBS, for example, isn’t as good, in viewer performance or otherwise, as AMC.

A little while back, Dish took off some Turner networks, including CNN and Cartoon Network -- but not TNT and TBS. Still, Ergen says those networks will soon find the exit door.

Bottom line: Dish may not take Turner back -- ever.

We have heard these draconian remarks before from executives of pay TV providers. But now they can tell investors there are more threats from networks to pay TV providers.: higher affiliate fees, lower viewership, and yes, some networks starting up their own stand-alone, over-the-top Internet-based TV service.



"When we take something down, we're prepared to take it down forever," Ergen said. "We would prefer to get a deal done. We have a time frame we look at, but if we don't have a deal, we might make a long-term decision to go another direction."

Okay. Everyone take a deep breath.

Ergen then took a swipe at perhaps bigger fish: CBS. He says CBS in announcing its own OTT service, which means its programming is less valuable to pay TV providers. This could mean a blackout for CBS-owned and -operated stations.

If these are the early days of a la carte, stand-alone world of TV, you can be sure pay TV companies have sussed out the ramifications.  Now Ergen’s job is to quell investors. For Dish’s own part, it is attempting to start up its own OTT internet TV service by the end of the year.

But, in fact, Dish had hoped for better business connections -- a merger with perhaps the bigger satellite TV provider DirecTV, or a deal with a big phone/broadband company to give Dish what traditional cable TV operators have: another connection  to consumers.

Speaking one’s mind makes for great headlines -- that’s for sure. Maybe all that is a distraction for crumbling third quarter net income results -- down over 50% -- at Dish. After its earnings release, Dish’s mid-day Tuesday stock price sank sharply 6%.

2 comments about "Dish Network Throws Down Gauntlet At Turner, CBS".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Deg Farrelly from Arizona State University, November 5, 2014 at 5:15 p.m.

    Dish had better be careful….. continue to drop the channels that I want to watch, and I will drop Dish. I am relatively certain that other Dish subscribers will feel the same. I can easily switch to Direct TV… or even (extremely reluctantly) return to Cox cable.

    But at the base is an issue that applies to all consumer goods…. If you don't carry the products I want…. I won't shop at your store.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, November 5, 2014 at 7:29 p.m.

    Seems like a tactic so the 2 can merge. These decisions are echoing from the profiteers of private equity and derivatives. It has nothing to do with broadcast.

Next story loading loading..