Charlie Chat

January 11, 2007

EchoStar chief Charlie Ergen’s folksy Southern charm had attendees of the 40th annual Consumer Electronics Show in stitches during a panel discussion of the future of cable, satellite and telephone video industries this week.Asked by the moderator for predictions on what the media industry will look like in five years, he deadpanned, “Uhm, were not going to have any customers. But as a result of that, we will beat market expectations.”On a more serious note, Ergen said more consolidation among rival distributors was inevitable as competition heats up, although he dismissed persistent rumors that EchoStar was in discussions to link up with larger satellite TV operator DirecTV. (Earlier at the conference, Ergen stopped short of ruling out such a merger, but said partnerships were more likely.) News Corp. is in the midst of transferring control of DirecTV to John Malone’s Liberty Media in a deal expected to close in the second half of 2007.Ergen: “Theres going to be a day when you go to one cable company, one ABC broadcaster and one satellite company Everyones going to beat your brains out … Its just going to take a while to get there.” 

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