since he stepped down in May as chief executive (which he still chairs). But when he makes an appearance, nearly as rare these days as one of those biennial dividends it pays, it’s worth a listen.
After losing more subscribers than expected in the third quarter Dish executives pointed to larger rival DirecTV’s hugely successful NFL football Sunday Ticket giveaway as the primary source of competition.
Ergen’s surprise appearance on the call allowed analysts to pivot away from the dreary operational numbers and discuss his vision of the pay-TV space. In May he had described Dish’s hodge podge of investments in wireless broadband and content as the “Seinfeld Strategy”. In other words, it’ll all make sense in the end. We hope for investors’ sake that’s right.
Ergen’s view on competition:
- I think from a macro point of view, clearly DirecTV’s results showed there’s still a big business out there for satellite television on a standalone basis and the rest of the industry absent the phone companies really was negative, so I think there’s still business out there. Satellite is still the most efficient way to deliver video. We’re just not getting our fair share of it yet, but having said that, the other macro trend is we’re continuing to use more consumers are consuming more bits and bites of zeros and wants, could be data, video, it could be voice, so I think that strategically, we believe we have to be in something other than a standalone video business as a Company and we’re in the transition of being able to do that.