DirecTV, Dish TV May Take Another Whack At Merger

Traditional media mergers, downsizing and other financial trimming is everyday news. Have we overlooked one longtime area: owners of cable TV systems?

The whole media ecosystem is rumbling. First up, content providers on the move -- which are making drastic changes.

WarnerMedia is expecting layoffs, anywhere from 5% to 7% -- around 1,200 to 1,750. Disneyland looks to make more theme parks layoffs, due to being unable to open in full or part.

On the merger front: There are talks about another possible merger attempt among two major satellite TV pay TV services -- DirecTV and Dish Network. Now, years after being a major force in pay TV, both have been witnessing hard times, due to lower subscribers.

Cable TV-centric companies like Comcast and Charter have had similar issues -- those companies also have had a still booming broadband business. Added to this are companies' efforts around mobile phone business.



DirecTV and Dish Network don’t sell any of the latter -- and that is a major problem for consumers looking for a full package of communications/interconnectitvy.

Wait, you might say: Isn’t DirecTV part of a bigger company, AT&T, a big communication company with a strong mobile phone/broadband business? Yes, but.... AT&T's DirecTV business has been bleeding subscribers than the industry overall. (Dish Network, less so.)

In 1992, both DirecTV and Dish Network first mulled a merger. The U.S. Justice Department put its kibosh on that deal, due to anti-trust concerns. But in 2020, it’s a different story, what with strong OTT/CTV growth and virtual pay TV providers and/or services that provide programming apps.

Competition is everywhere. A DirecTV/Dish marriage is coming.

“Make no mistake, whether it's a year from now, or 10 years from now. I believe it's inevitable those companies go together,” Charlie Ergen, chairman of Dish said recently.

All of which may make you wonder -- why don't big cablers, Comcast, Charter, Altice, and the rest consider selling their pay TV video services -- those traditional cable TV systems?

In part, because money is still being made -- in terms of revenue, growth in the average rate per month a users pays, and positive cash flow. And, more importantly, those companies continue to find way to package other services, broadband, mobile with cable video subscription.

Still, at some point, one would believe traditional pay TV cable's interest in keeping these high-priced 200, 300 or more channel services aloft will lose gravity. Perhaps if and when other related communications/media businesses grow, or cord-cutting ramps up from 5% to 8% per year to say 15%.

Does all this mean waiting for the cable TV repair man finally gets cut as well?

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