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Dish Network: 2008 Goal Was to ‘Stop Getting Worse’

2 Mar, 2009 By: Chris Tribbey

Dish Network

Satellite company Dish Network lost about 102,000 net subscribers during the fourth quarter of 2008 (ended Dec. 31), but still saw profits of $217 million, up from $175 million during the same period in 2007. For all of 2008, Dish raked in profits of $903 million, and claims more than 13.6 million subscribers.

“As I look at the company this last year, we’ve done a couple of things really right,” said company CEO Charlie Ergen on March 2, in an earnings call. “One is our balance sheet is in good shape. … Second thing we’ve done right is, I believe that we have the best video product out there.

“If consumers are on a mission, and they had a choice between us or our competitors for video, I believe that they would pick our product more often than not.”

Ergen, however, was down on his company’s operational performance, saying Dish makes it hard for new customers to join their service, and that too many people instead steal the service.

“Over the last three, four years, we’ve allowed our operations to degrade and our customer service has suffered. I’d say it this way: 2008 was kind of a year where our goal was to stop getting worse,” he said.

Ergen also spoke about his company’s legal battle against TiVo. TiVo is seeking more damages over a patent infringement victory it won in regards to Dish’s DVRs.

“That is now complete and the judge will make his ruling,” he said. “We anticipate that [the judge’s] ruling won't be for several months.”

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