DirecTV CEO Mike White – not for the first time – has refused to rule out a merger with arch-rival DISH Network. He told analysts “I don’t think it’s productive for me to speculate what regulators may or may not do, but the competitive landscape is very different than it was 10 years ago” when regulators ruled out a merger.
He added that ”the balance [of power] between content distributors and providers is out of whack.” He has long grumbled that network broadcasters and programmers are demanding dangerously high transmission fees for their content. “I’ve seen more customer complaints about the price increases,” he says. “My own view is that it’s not going to change in the short term. But it’s clear that this isn’t sustainable beyond the next couple of years. Something is going to have to give.”
White backed the trend – in the US and Europe – for larger cable companies, a concept that Liberty Media is pursuing, adding “scale matters” [but] “It always takes two to dance,” White says – and Charlie Ergen is “committed to other ideas and strategies that would be different from our views on strategy. But you never say never.”