Dish Network founder Charlie Ergen has said that OTT “has the potential to be as big or bigger than the DBS [i.e., DTH] business.”
Speaking to analysts following Dish Network’s quarterly results, he said: “It’s the next way to watch live TV, right? Cable, then satellite and now, OTT because it has some built-in advantages, right? It’s immediate. It’s just an app so you don’t have to wait for an installer. You don’t have two-year contracts. You can watch on any device. The advertising can be more meaningful to you. It can be more directed to you. So there’s a lot of different things you can do with it.”
Dish is already tapping into a potential audience of some 25 million US homes who do not subscribe to a conventional pay-TV service with its Sling TV service.
Ergen admitted that some pay-TV services were subject to considerable churn, saying that seasonality, as well as some viewers coming into a service such as HBO just to “binge watch” shows such as Game of Thrones, and then immediately dropping the service until the next season of the show came along.
He stressed that Dish was well placed. “There’s a lot of things that we put in place for depending on which way it goes and we’ve maintained the flexibility that we need here and the technology is not so easy to duplicate overnight. And so we think we’re positioned in whatever direction it goes.”