Bloomberg News

Dish Network Works on Web TV Service to Meet Competition

December 12, 2011

(Adds comment about video-subscriber trends in eighth paragraph.)

Dec. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Dish Network Corp., the second- largest U.S. satellite-TV provider, has the capability to offer an online TV service that would expand competition with cable companies, suggested Chief Executive Officer Joseph Clayton.

“There’s not a lot of infrastructure you have to put in place for this,” Clayton said today in an interview. “The expense is the programming.”

Dish, based in Englewood, Colorado, has the technology and has held talks with television networks to showcase what an online service could look like, according to a person with knowledge of the discussions. Verizon Communications Inc. is set to offer an online video service in regions where its FiOS TV isn’t available, Reuters reported last week.

“If Verizon can do it, why can’t we?,” Clayton said. “Both of our companies buy a lot of content. That gives us some leverage.”

Dish purchased the Blockbuster video chain out of bankruptcy in April and offers an online film service that streams movies under that name to its satellite customers. The company plans to offer the service to others as well, according to Clayton, who didn’t say when non-Dish customers would be able to subscribe.

Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen said that “all of us in the video business are looking at streaming video” during a November conference call.

Dish fell 0.6 percent to $25.68 at the close in New York. The shares have gained 31 percent this year.

Clayton said he was “happy” with Dish’s fourth-quarter subscriber trends and that customer losses bottomed out this summer. Dish lost 135,000 customers in the second quarter and dropped 111,000 in the third quarter.

--Editors: Rob Golum, Peter Elstrom

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Sherman in New York at asherman6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net


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