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Dish Network’s founder Charlie Ergen, speaking to analysts following his company’s results, said that vehicle connectivity was a topic that his organisations were well positioned to participate in. Ergen is holding very large amounts of wireless spectrum.
“Certainly cars are going to be connected. The only way that I know you are going to connect a car is wirelessly. If it is going to be wirelessly, you’re going to have to have some spectrum to do that. We’ve thought about that, others have thought about that and we think we’re positioned to participate in all kinds of connectivity and cars is just one of them. And I’d just further say, the world is about to change from 300 million handsets in the United States to 30 billion connected devices, that’s a big change. And all those connected devices are going to potentially be income-producing for people in the industry. So, that’s a big change in terms of where things are going.”
Ergen also told analysts that Dish’s highly public carriage fee dispute with Viacom was not going to end by Dish overpaying astronomically to avoid disruption. “We have a long history [with Viacom], we would like to get a deal done, we see potentially a path to get it done, but we don’t have a deal done.”
He also said that some broadcast packages, from players like Viacom were less important today than some years ago. “I would say that seven years ago Viacom was stronger on our network than they are today. And they still have valuable stuff. I think they still have good content. But, in general, I would say that they suffered some from their product being more overly distributed than others. It’s not product that you have to watch in general live and kids, some of their focus has been on kids and kids is a pretty, particularly with Netflix, diluted genre.”
As far as its Q1 financials were concerned, Dish lost 23,000 subscribers even allowing for the inclusion of Sling TV. Total subs base is now 13.87 million. However, revenues were $3.79 billion, and better than expected.