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Speaking of customer data
Speaking of customer data, when Ergen said
he may be exaggerating to make Dish's case, but rest assured, they certainly know down to the # of minutes every channel is watched and by how many households. You can be certain they throw those numbers at the networks when they insist on carriage of extra channels along with ridiculous $$$ figures for them.
"We have data, real data from our customers," Mr. Ergen said. "And for whatever reason our customers don't watch some of those ... at the level that we read about in the paper
Wouldn't you expect that a satellite provider would be more rural than a cable provider that has per-mile capex and maintenance costs? And that Dish, by being the lower-cost satellite provider, would skew even more rural than its competitor DirecTV?
It's pretty clear from the conference call transcript that Charles Ergen is not an idiot. He know exactly how the four AMC channels are doing. (emphasis mine)
In June, we announced our intention to drop AMC Networks' AMC, WE, IFC and Sundance from our network offerings. Simply put, with the exception of a few original series from AMC, all 4 channels significantly underperformed with our DISH subscribers. In a year where we took no price increase, we are laser-like focused on controlling our ever escalating programming costs.Other interesting tidbits from the conference call:
• Here's the rest of the out-of-context quote that Karl called an "insult to his customers." You be the judge. "The fact that we had to carry WE and IFC and Sundance ... we know the viewer measurement is not one of our top 100 or 200 channels, those 3 channels."
• I think he should be applauded for his support of non-bundled channels. That gets rid of these silly disputes, removes the cross-subsidies, and makes it very clear just what each channel is worth to the end-viewer. AMC thinks they're hot stuff. Well, then they can try to charge higher prices to the viewer, and see where that lands them. "Well, we've been kind of a lone voice in Washington, although I think from time to time, Cablevision actually has joined in, in a similar vein, but we've been for à la carte."
• I wonder if these speculative remarks are referring to himself: "So I think there'll be a day when there's probably an offering out there from somebody who doesn't include sports, just because sports will get -- the contract will get so onerous that somebody could make the decision that they'll take the short-term pain of losing that 20% of the eyeballs and then take the long-term gain that they might be $10 or $15 or $20 less expensive for the consumer."