MediaFile

DISH’s Ergen won’t give in to TiVo: ‘I’m just stubborn’

charlieergen1999-2.jpgYou can think what you like about the management of DISH Network Corp, the second largest U.S. satellite TV operator, but they’re nothing if not refreshingly frank about the economy, the state of the market and their competitors’ tactics.

Of course, a lot of that has to do with the disarming candor of founder and Chief Executive Charlie Ergen, whose conference calls tend to avoid the sort of obfuscation and Orwellian double-speak the media and investors have to come expect from C-level executives in corporate America.

Ergen had to be especially blunt today on a day his company announced a loss 0f 25,000 subscribers, which according to Bernstein Research’s Craig Moffett, was its first ever loss of subscribers.

On competition:

 (There are) really competitive offerings in the marketplace, as the biggest being probably the phone companies and FiOS and U-verse, where there are a lot of introductory offers out there that I think they had about close to 350,000 net additions in the second quarter so they’re taking those some from us and some customers from others. Obviously in the Hi-Definition front we haven’t been as competitive as we would have liked in the second quarter, particularly versus DirecTV.

On AT&T ending a joint marketing partnership and calling for the repayment of a $500 million investment:

Who’s winning pay-TV war this quarter?

brianrobertsandglennbritt.jpgSo who’s winning the pay-TV so far this year? With days to go until two of the biggest cable operators (Time Warner Cable on Wednesday and Comcast on Thursday)  report first quarter financial results, Reuters canvassed eight Wall Street analysts for their estimates of subscriber net additions during the period.

At first glance it doesn’t look like it will be a good quarter with these analysts forecasting Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision to lose around 100,000 basic TV subscribers collectively, while satellite TV plays DIRECTV Group and DISH Network will add around 320,000.

Even more worrisome for cable companies?  AT&T and Verizon added around 410,000 new TV subscribers between them during the quarter.