Dish is America's #2 satellite broadcaster, but subscriber numbers have been slowly declining since 2011, falling to 8.8m for the main Dish service by the end of 2020 (from highs of over 14m in 2013). It is the main rival to local leader DirecTV, but both companies have been badly affected by the shift towards streaming services. The business was founded in 1996 as a subsidiary of EchoStar, a manufacturer of set-top boxes which had just launched its first broadcast satellite into orbit. It was spun out as a separate entity in 2008, although the two groups maintain common voting control and close trading links, not least in that EchoStar's satellites still deliver Dish services into US homes. The company has steadily broadened its range of services in recent years in an attempt to overtake traditional DirecTV, but with limited results. In 2011, for example, Dish Network acquired entertainment rental retailer Blockbuster, which had filed for bankruptcy the previous year. However it failed to turn that business around and Blockbuster was eventually shut down in 2013. Dish launched a satellite broadband service in 2012, and has also accumulated large amounts of wireless spectrum with which it had promised to launch its own national mobile service. To that end, Dish made opportunistic attempts in 2013 to interrupt the sale of mobile operator Sprint to Japanese company Softbank, and also to take control of Sprint's broadband subsidiary Clearwire. Both bids were rejected. At the end of 2014, Dish also launched its own lower-priced "over the top" internet streaming service under the name Sling TV. This had attracted almost 2.5m users by the end of 2020, mainly at the expense of the main Dish service. In 2019, it finally got its own cellular operation with an agreement to acquire Boost Mobile and other prepaid services operated by Sprint, paving the way for that company's acquisition by T-Mobile USA. Smaller provider Ting Mobile was acquired in 2020. It had around 9.1m mobile subscribers by the end of 2020. Echostar's founder Charlie Ergen remains chairman of Dish Network and controlling shareholder with over 70% voting control of both Dish and EchoStar. He stepped down as CEO at the end of 2017 in favour of Erik Carlson, formerly COO. The addition of Boost Mobile helped group revenues to reach a new high of almost $15.5bn in 2020. Net income was $1.8bn.
Capsule checked 21st June 2021
Adbrands Account Assignments tracks account management for the world's leading brands and companies, including details of which advertising agency handles which accounts in which countries for major markets.
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Who are the competitors of Dish? Main competitor in satellite broadcasting is DirecTV. In the cable pay-TV sector, Dish competes with Comcast, Charter and Verizon's IPTV service. See Media Sector for others.
Adbrands Daily Update 20th Jul 2021: Dish announced plans to change network partner for its various prepaid mobile services. Mostly acquired from T-Mobile in 2019, they had retained that network as their network provider. However that relationship has grown increasingly fractious. Dish will now transfer to AT&T instead in a deal reported to be worth at least $5bn over ten years. The arrangement also provides AT&T access to Dish's wireless spectrum.
Adbrands Daily Update 2nd Apr 2020: The merger of T-Mobile USA and Sprint closed yesterday nearly two years after it was agreed, and a decade since the two companies first started negotiations. At the same time, ownership of the Boost mobile service and its 9m customers transferred to Dish Network, along with selected infrastructure assets, and John Legere has stepped down as CEO of T-Mobile USA in favour of his former deputy Mike Sievert. Deutsche Telekom ends up with a 43% stake in the business, while Sprint owner Softbank has 24%. The remaining shares are publicly owned. The Sprint network will continue to operate for the time being under its new owner, but will be gradually phased out.
Adbrands Daily Update 29th Jul 2019: It was a long, long time coming, but US federal regulators finally approved the proposed merger of Sprint and T-Mobile USA. Talks between the two have been ongoing for at least five years. The crucial development this time was a deal to offload certain key assets into satellite TV provider Dish Network. That deal effectively sets up Dish as a new 4th mobile provider to replace the one being eliminated through merger. It will pay $1.4bn to acquire Sprint's Boost and Virgin Mobile prepaid services, with a combined total of around 9m customers, and will have access to the combined T-Mobile/Sprint wireless and retail network for at least seven years, while it builds its own 5G network. It will pay another $3.6bn in 2022 to buy additional spectrum from Sprint. Meanwhile, T-Mobile and Sprint will combine their other resources, creating a network of around 90m customers, closing the gap with AT&T and Verizon. T-Mobile has promised not to raise its prices for three years and to roll-out a national 5G service by 2022. Despite federal approval, though, the separate lawsuit brought by 10 state attorneys-general is still ongoing, so the merger is not yet fully cleared.
Adbrands Weekly Update 24th Nov 2016: The addressable TV deal flagged up by Sir Martin Sorrell at WPP's 3Q results conference has finally materialised. The British marketing group has teamed up with AT&T's DirecTV and rival satellite broadcaster Dish to acquire Invidi Technologies, the developer of a system that allows advertisers to target different ads to different audiences during the same commercial break, based on demographic data or customer habits. AT&T will have a controlling interest but the business will operate independently under the three companies' collective ownership.
Adbrands Weekly Update 25th Feb 2016: US media companies continued to take a hammering from investors after another collection of disappointing results. Satellite broadcaster Dish Network reported a shock net loss for the final quarter as a result of impairments and additional wireless spectrum purchases. Total subscriber numbers slipped slightly to just below 13.9m, as broadband streaming service SlingTV's gains (to around 600k users) failed to offset the loss of traditional satellite customers. Revenues were up slightly at $15.1bn.
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