Dish-Sinclair Carriage Fight Heating Up

Ongoing carriage friction between Dish Network and Sinclair Broadcast Group could soon intensify, with Sinclair warning that 112 of its local TV stations could soon go dark on the pay-TV provider. In an earnings conference call with Wall Street analysts, Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen was asked about the source of the dispute with Sinclair. “At the end of the day, it’s about money,” he said. “It’s about economics.”

Dish CEO Says Retrans Fees Have Peaked

“Our vendors are competing with us in linear TV, so that’s an unhealthy place.” That’s the assessment of Dish founder Charlie Ergen. In Thursday’s earnings call, Ergen played prophet and skeptic as he laid out the competitive landscape. The company’s Dish TV and Sling TV units rely almost exclusively on the appetite for live streaming. But as nearly every media company launches its own services, these MVPDs are facing increasing competition for limited streaming dollars.

Ergen’s 2020 Compensation Soars To $94.8M

Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen, long one of the lowest paid CEOs in the media industry, broke that mold Friday after the satellite giant revealed the executive received his biggest payday yet, $94.8 million, fueled mainly by one-time stock options, according to its annual proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Charlie Ergen: ‘We Stumbled’ With Sling TV

With his company’s vMVPD reporting just 16,000 customer additions in the fourth quarter, the Dish chairman concedes the service should have more market share than it does.

Dish’s Ergen In Hot Water At FCC

The FCC ruled unanimously Tuesday night that Dish Network CEO Charlie Ergen improperly bid on $12 billion worth of wireless spectrum back in 2015, and received a $3-plus billion discount through a government program designed to benefit small businesses. Ergen bid on the spectrum not through Dish Network, a massive satellite and soon-to-be 5G carrier, but through an outfit known as Northstar Wireless, which he has a stake in.

Dish’s Ergen On DirecTV Satellite Merger: Still ‘Inevitable’

A deal will happen, ‘whether it’s a year from now or 10 years from now,’ he says.

Ergen: DirecTV-Dish Merger ‘Inevitable’

Combining the two fading satellite TV operations isn’t a matter of if but only when, Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen says.

Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen Still Sees DirecTV Satellite Merger As ‘Inevitable’

NEWS ANALYSIS

Ergen Has A Big Appetite For 5G Spectrum

As part of Dish Network’s $1.4 billion agreement last week to purchase around 9 million Boost-branded mobile customers from T-Mobile, the company also quietly said it would purchase billions of dollars of additional spectrum. The deal underscores the fact that Charlie Ergen — the chairman of Dish Network and a key architect of the company’s 5G strategy — ostensibly has an utterly inexhaustible desire for spectrum.

Ergen’s Dish Pay Fell To $2.35M In 2019

Charlie Ergen, the billionaire chairman and former CEO of Dish Network, took home $2.35 million in total pay for 2019, according to an SEC proxy filing issued on Friday. Ergen made $3.1 million for running the satellite TV service in 2018.

Dish Chairman Touts Wireless Plan

Dish’s Charlie Ergen said he has letters from three banks prepared to offer $10 billion to fund the company’s new wireless network as he appeared in federal court to testify in support of T-Mobile US’s purchase of rival Sprint.

T-Mobile-Sprint Merger May Be Derailed By Dish’s Charlie Ergen

Dish-DirecTV Merger Probably Won’t Happen

Dish Network’s chances of buying DirecTV could be about as remote as a satellite that’s orbiting the earth. That’s the take from sources close to Dish CEO Charlie Ergen, who say that in addition to regulatory stumbling blocks, the mercurial billionaire faces tough financial hurdles in acquiring his longtime rival.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Jessell | The Ergen-Locast Link And Other Vital Matters

A smorgasbord of topics this week: (1) I don’t know it for a fact, but I know that it’s true that Charlie Ergen is the money behind Locast, the OTT service that is streaming local broadcast signals. (2) Retrans is also under attack from STELAR, the law that empowers satellite operators to import distant signals of network O&Os into areas where subscribers cannot receive local affiliates off air and is up for renewal. (3) With the emergence of the new Fox Corp. this week, a forecast finds that most of its broadcast fee growth will come from reverse comp. (4) A tip of the hat to FCC Comish Michael O’Rielly for taking on the Justice Department, which has been stepping on the FCC’s turf regarding local TV ownership rules.

Dish’s Ergen Blasts AT&T Over Dish

Dish Network CEO Charlie Ergen, long known for his free-spoken, sharp-elbowed management style, described the company’s carriage dispute with HBO as the result of “purely an anti-competitive play” by the premium network’s new parent, AT&T.

Dish Could Spend $10B To Build 5G Network

Dish Network’s Charlie Ergen continues to beat the 5G drum, telling an investor conference that the company could spend up to $10 billion to build 50,000 towers in its efforts to launch a 5G network.

Dish’s Ergen 2017 Pay Rises To $2.4 Million

Charlie Ergen, the billionaire chairman and former CEO of Dish Network, was awarded $2.4 million for running the satellite TV service in 2017, up 41%, according to a regulatory filing Wednesday. The drivers were stock option and stock awards of $654,033 and $6,389, respectively, compared with none in 2016, and an increase in “other compensation” to $786,021 from $656,833. Ergen’s salary remained unchanged at $1 million.

COMMENTARY BY BOB SCHERMAN

Last Week’s Satellite News: AT&T And Ergen

There is simply no way to view the comments by a federal judge last week that he will not issue his decision in the lawsuit filed by the government to block AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner until after April 22 as anything but bad news for the telco behemoth. Also, the consumer media and some in the financial press went bonkers last week when Dish Network announced that Chairman Charlie Ergen was once again giving up the chief executive title. It was hilarious. If Ergen was really interested in turning over the reins to someone else, he would have recruited a big name chief executive to take over.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Ergen And Smith: Thing 1 And Thing 2

What do the two TV entrepreneurs have in common? They are both betting that the future lies in spectrum and the Internet of Things. They just envision different ways of realizing the vast potential. The real question is can they get a return on the hefty investments they will have to make so that they can compete is the space.

Charlie Ergen To Step Down As Dish CEO

Charlie Ergen is stepping down as Dish CEO, relinquishing the company’s top executive position to President-CEO Erik Carlson. Ergen, who handed that “president” title over to Carlson in 2015, will now focus his efforts on the wireless business going forward.

COMMENTARY BY BOB SCHERMAN

Ergen, Dish On Dangerous Legal Trajectory

Week after week, month after month, year after year, it is hard to remember a time during which Dish Network was not participating in a high-profile lawsuit or legal dispute. And when two individual federal judges, in separate cases, question whether a company remotely cares if it is violating the law — any law —  it is far more than business as usual. Could it be that a reputation for not caring about the law, or the rules, or core corporate ethics has enveloped Dish Network and is catching up to it?

NEWS ANALYSIS

Dish’s Ergen On Road To Who Knows Where

Most know Dish Network for its satellite dishes affixed to the exteriors of millions of U.S. homes. But the $30 billion company is betting its future on something investors can’t see: licenses for airwaves used to transmit data between smartphones and other wireless-connected devices. The strategy sounds good in theory: For better or worse, our days do increasingly revolve around smart devices. However, Charlie Ergen, Dish’s billionaire founder and leader, has yet to provide a clear plan for how exactly the pay-TV company will make money from all the spectrum licenses it’s purchased over the years.

COMMENTARY BY BOB SCHERMAN

Post Auction, Ergen Wireless Bet Now $21B

Counting the $6.2 billion of spectrum he bought in the incentive auction, Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen has now shelled out more than $21 billion for spectrum. With sale and partnership possibilities limited, he may forge ahead alone with plans to provide the backbone for the so-called internet of things.This column originally appeared as the “Scherman’s Notebook” column in the March 1 Satellite Business News.

COMMENTARY BY BOB SCHERMAN

Did Charlie Ergen Make A Bad Wireless Bet?

Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen once promised that he would meet all the broadband needs of consumers with the billions of dollars of wireless spectrum he was accumulating. Five years later, Dish Network has a contract to repair Samsung’s exploding washing machines, but no articulated plan for putting all that spectrum to work. This column originally appeared as the “Scherman’s Notebook” column in the March 1 Satellite Business News FaxUPDATE.

Ergen Bills OTT As Satellite’s ‘Replacement’

Dish Chairman-CEO made a rhetorical pivot by billing virtual MVPD services like Sling TV as replacements for traditional pay-TV platforms and not merely competition. Ergen’s comments exist in direct opposition from Dish’s brand position on products like Sling TV, dating back more than two years.

Ergen: OTT Replacing Traditional Pay TV

Providers of streaming services such as DirecTV Now and Sling TV typically try to calm the fears of programmers that like the lucrative traditional pay TV bundle by saying that they aim to supplement, not replace, it. But Dish Network CEO Charlie Ergen doesn’t buy that anymore.

Ergen: Dish, Tribune ‘Tens Of Millions’ Apart

Entering the second month of a blackout that has kept 42 Tribune-owned network affiliates in 33 markets off Dish Network, Charlie Ergen, chairman and CEO of the satellite TV service, said his company is “tens of millions of dollars apart” with the broadcaster, and didn’t sound hopeful about one of the largest ever retrans-related blackouts ending soon.

Dish CEO: We’re Prepared To Drop Viacom

Dish CEO Charlie Ergen said his company was prepared to drop Viacom channels permanently if the satellite provider can’t reach a deal on fees with the programmer. “We’re prepared to move on as Suddenlink and others have done without the content,” he said, speaking on a call with analysts to discuss quarterly results.

EARNINGS CALL

Ergen: Retrans Rules A Threat To Consumers

The FCC’s newly approved rules aimed at unlocking the pay-TV set-top box business have been getting a lot of attention. But Dish Network CEO Charlie Ergen said retrans rules, which are currently being considered for revision by the FCC, are more pertinent to consumers.

Dish’s Ergen Hands Prez Title To Erik Carlson

Charlie Ergen is giving up his president title at Dish Network, which will go to Erik Carlson. Carlson will supervise all Dish revenue-generating, operating and administrative units, including customer acquisition and retention, finance and accounting, human resources, marketing, media sales, programming, operations and Dish’s newly formed technology office.

Dish Network, T-Mobile In Merger Talks

Dish Network Corp. is in talks to merge with T-Mobile US Inc., people familiar with the matter said, a deal that would accelerate a wave of consolidation across the U.S. media and communications industries. The two sides are in close agreement about what the combined company would look like, with Dish CEO Charlie Ergen becoming the company’s chairman and his T-Mobile counterpart, John Legere, serving as the combined company’s CEO, the people said.

Dish’s Charlie Ergen Reclaiming CEO Title

Charlie Ergen, the brash entrepreneurial founder of Dish Network, will take over as CEO of the satcaster following the retirement of president and CEO Joe Clayton in March. Dish announced Monday that Clayton, who has been its chief exec since June 2011, will retire from his position effective March 31 and will also leave Dish’s board.

Ergen’s $50B Spectrum Binge Rattles TV Biz

Charlie Ergen is using a new Web-entertainment service and $50 billion in airwaves to upend pay TV as we know it. The founder of Dish Network Corp. beat his rivals to market in February with Sling TV, a $20-a-month online service that offers live channels and sports at a fourth of the cost of a typical cable bundle. Including the latest government sale of wireless airwaves, Ergen has also amassed a $50 billion trove of spectrum that could let Englewood, Colo.-based Dish compete for data and voice customers for the first time.

COMMENTARY BY ROBERT KENNY

‘Bully-Boy Tactics’ From Dish Net’s Ergen

Dish has joined two other pay-TV companies, Time Warner Cable and DirecTV, to form the American Television Alliance. ATVA’s strategy, led by the big three, is simple — to manufacture as many TV blackouts of both cable networks and local broadcast stations as possible in hopes that Congress will “reform” a system that ATVA’s members have deliberately tried to break.

EARNINGS CALL

Ergen On Loss Of Turner Nets: ‘Non-Event’

Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen was in rare form today in his quarterly earnings conference call with analysts and media — especially when asked about his battle with Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting. All of its channels except for TBS and TNT went dark on the No. 2 satellite company on Oct. 21 as a result of a contract dispute. And Ergen says he’s prepared to dig in his heels, including doing without CNN which he says is “not a top 10 network anymore. Unless they find the Malaysian plane.”

Dish Hit With $1.5 Billion Lawsuit

Dish Network and its chairman, Charles Ergen, have been slapped with a lawsuit over the bankrupt wireless company LightSquared. In the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Colorado, Harbinger Capital Partners accuses Ergen, Dish Network and others of engaging in “an illegal scheme of involving mail and wire fraud, banktruptcy fraud, torious inteference, and abuse of process.”

Dish CEO Says DirecTV Deal Unlikely

Stock prices of satellite-TV companies came hurtling toward Earth Thursday after Charlie Ergen, chairman of the second-largest player in the sector, Dish Network, said a deal with DirecTV was unlikely. Ergen said he couldn’t afford such a deal as DirecTV’s share price has become a bit too frothy.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Dish-Disney Deal Bodes Well For Affiliates

The agreement is the first step toward Dish offering a cable-like service online, but before it launches it’s going to need similar deals with the ABC affiliates as well as with CBS, Fox, NBC and their affiliates. All the affiliates stand to make a little more on retrans and they get their signals onto the Internet where they can be watched by young viewers on mobile devices.

Dish’s Ergen Taking On Cable With Online TV

In the race to deliver TV over the Internet, Charlie Ergen’s Dish Network is pulling ahead. And that may have implications for marketers and other media companies that have grown familiar with Ergen’s penchant for disrupting established businesses. With a groundbreaking agreement this week with Disney, his satellite company is poised to be the first to offer an Internet-based competitor to cable, a new kind of business that other major companies such as Intel and Apple have tried —and so far failed — to deliver.

Dish To Own Huge Block Of Spectrum

Weeks after withdrawing a $2.2 billion bid to buy bankrupt LightSquared and its 4G spectrum, Charlie Ergen is about to win a government auction for the so-called H Block of spectrum. The $1.56 billion acquisition, expected to be announced this week, a source close to the situation said, will make Ergen’s Dish Networks the fifth-biggest spectrum owner.