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Dish Network’s OTT Video Venture on Schedule for Year-End Bow

4 Nov, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Dish Network remains on schedule to roll out a $30 monthly standalone over-the-top video service by the end of the year targeting cord-cutters and Millennials, chairman Charlie Ergen told investors.

Speaking Nov. 4 during the satellite operator’s fiscal call, Ergen was repeatedly asked about OTT — a market niche the charismatic executive has embraced as leverage against media companies’ escalating retransmission fees and conduit to a self-described underserved consumer.

With Dish losing about 12,000 video subscribers in the third quarter (ended Sept. 30) with a base of 14 million subs, timing for an OTT service would seem appropriate.

The satellite operator contends programing for the OTT service will be available to an untapped segment of customers that is seeking a flexible, content-driven, Internet-accessible service. Other content providers include the Disney Channel, Disney XD, ESPN, ABC, A&E, History, Lifetime and H2.

The OTT service, which is still ironing out technical issues, will be cloud-based with access via connected devices as well as the television.

Critics say the services could undermine the current $100+ bundled subscription pay-TV business model.

“We [will] really target the 18- to 35-year-old [male] who's not paying for TV today,” Ergen said. “And it's certainly going to skew towards sports enthusiasts.”

The chairman said the OTT service would not target the 55-year-old father with three kids and four TVs paying $100 a month for bundled channels.

“We have kind of theories about how it all works. My experience has been that some of our theories will be right, some will be wrong. Where we're wrong, we're going to change it and overcome the consumers' objections,” Ergen said.

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