Is Dish Network turning to the Internet to help save subscription numbers?

by Colin McGuire. 0 Comments

There was a time in my life during which I lived in a place that relied on a satellite dish for its television consumption. I remember it being darn exciting — satellite TV always offered 39,924 more channels than regular cable television providers and the wide array of music channels that the package offered, I always thought, was worth the extra few bucks alone.

The problem? Weather. Whenever it would rain or snow, the possibility of bad reception increased and I can vividly recall moments of my late teens being knee deep in some type of television program right as the storm clouds opened and wind, rain, thunder and lightning prevented me from seeing how whatever it was I was watching ended. Sure, satellite television was great. It just wasn’t reliable.

With the invention of Internet television, DVR and all the other neat little quirky elements TV-watching now offers, satellite television has seemed to have lost its allure in recent years. Don’t have a channel you’d like to check out? Dial it up online. Missed an episode of your favorite show? You can record it on your DVR instead of waiting for the west-coast replay some satellite dish packages offer.

Oh, but we spoke too soon, now didn’t we? From the Wall Street Journal 

“Dish Network Corp. has approached several media companies about the possibility of licensing their TV channels for use on a new pay-TV service to be delivered over the Internet, rather than over Dish’s satellite system, according to people familiar with the discussions,” the paper’s Website reported Monday. “Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen has raised the idea with multiple media companies as part of a broader effort to control rising programming costs. The programming wouldn’t include sports channels in its most-basic tier of service, according to the people familiar with the discussions. Sports channels are among the most expensive for cable and satellite operators to carry. In part, offering channels over the Internet could give Dish more flexibility to exclude channels whose existing contracts with Dish mandate that they appear on the satellite company’s most-widely distributed tiers of service.”

Well, isn’t that interesting. Dish Network decides it wants to throw its hat into the world of Internet television. It makes sense, considering the company’s loss of about 111,000 subscribers recently, lowering its number of customers to just below 14 million subscribers, a tiny number in what has become a digit-driven universe.

This matters to us because, if you remember, it was Dish that made some news a couple months ago when it acquired Blockbuster and announced the implementation of a video streaming service akin to Netflix’s, though with Blockbuster backing. As I wrote back in September, Dish Network made some tiny waves when it announced intentions to offer Blockbuster’s Movie Pass service to those who dared subscribe to the satellite television company’s package. The Blockbuster deal began at the beginning of last month and the response has been … almost nonexistent.

So what gives, Dish? Why are you so intent on making this jump into the Internet television universe? Actually — and most importantly — how much money are you willing to pump into this possible game plan? It better be a lot. Actually, it better be more than a lot.

As of right now, all conversations and rumors are merely exploratory, the Journal explained in its article. Still, with Google and Apple salivating at the chance to revolutionize the television industry, Dish better act quickly if it wants to be taken seriously. And by “seriously,” of course, I mean “sometime between tomorrow and Wednesday.”

Oh, how the television world keeps spinning round and round.

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