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Dish Boss Ergen: Cord Cutters Very Real
CEO Also a Fan of A La Carte Pricing
by Karl Bode 08:27AM Tuesday Feb 12 2013
By and large the cable and broadcast industry likes to believe that cord cutters are either akin to mythical unicorns, or they're an irrelevant and borderline subhuman niche market not worth serving. Occasionally there's an exemption to that rule, like former Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg, but by and large there remains a willful ignorance on the topic in the hopes that if we pretend these users aren't real, they'll just go away.

Dish's Charlie Ergen this week completely deviated from the cable industry head in sand playbook, breaking all manner of grumpy cable industry executive taboos. Ergen not only admitted cord cutting was real, the exec praised a la carte channel pricing, and even complimented Netflix -- calling their foray into original programming "brilliant":
quote:
"(I) think people are cutting the cord," Ergen said, arguing that kids in college never use cable, and that they won’t suddenly start paying once they leave school. "There is a reason that tobacco companies give away free cigarettes at colleges," he joked. Ergen also reiterated his position that a la carte programming would be better for consumers, as well as the industry itself. "We are still fort a la carte, because the Internet is a la carte today..."
Ergen may not be much fun to work for, but at least he's a little less willfully oblivious than some of his counterparts in the industry. Surely he'll get some nasty e-mails from industry counterparts reminding him that cord cutting is something you're supposed to ignore, and Netflix is a company you're supposed to mock. Most importantly, a la carte pricing is something you're supposed to attack as totally impossible because it would raise rates and kill niche channels -- even if that's happening anyway.

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topics flat nest 

FLATLINE

join:2007-02-27
Buffalo, NY

Oh yes we are real!

We are real and we did go away. Were not coming back anytime soon. Traditional TV is outdated and overpriced not too mention saturated with garbage.
TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH

Re: Oh yes we are real!

And Qstatements show otherwise. Telco tv addons are actualy UP. those leaving one are generally going where theyre getting a better deal.
34764170

join:2007-09-06
Etobicoke, ON

Re: Oh yes we are real!

said by TBBroadband:

those leaving one are generally going where theyre getting a better deal.

Keep dreaming.
TheRogueX

join:2003-03-26
Springfield, MO
I left more than a year ago. Not because I got a better deal, but because traditional television sucks. It's stupid. I can watch everything I want online, legally, without ads.
praetoralpha

join:2005-08-06
Pittsburgh, PA

Going away

quote:
but by and large there remains a willful ignorance on the topic in the hopes that if we pretend these users aren't real, they'll just go away.
Oh they will go away alright... away from the quarterly earnings statements that everyone seems to be smoking these days.

I had to cancel the digital cable sub in college when the roomie who wanted it wasn't paying me fast enough. First bill was $180+, and it was at least $60/month above the internet cost. What a rip off.
Telco

join:2008-12-19

Netflix

I resigned up to netflix after a long hiatus, both streaming and blu-ray delivery, and I find them excellent. I actually enjoy using them, which is something I have never ever felt about my cable service.

Every time I switch through the overpriced sports channels I just cringe. It's not about the money, it's that I don't want my money going to sport, jerseys, Kardasians or housewives.
travelguy

join:1999-09-03
Santa Fe, NM

1 recommendation

Better TV Through Cord Cutting

What many people don't realize is that cord cutting will lead to better programming. Today, most cable channels force you to watch 1 minute of commercials or promos for every 2 minutes of actual program. You can't tell a proper drama in 40 minutes and 20 minute comedies are like Youtube clips.

Sell programming direct to viewers and that pressure goes away.

IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast

I'll never cut the cord

I spent most of my childhood dealing with OTA and its notorious reception problems. When I got to my junior year in high school, we got cable. Much better picture, better programming, and I got more enjoyment out of TV.

When I was real young (up until 1992), we had a little black and white tabletop TV that was given to my mother from my father before I was born. We got our first Color TV in 1992.

Around where I live, TV reception is horrible and you need a roof antenna if you want reception. I've experimented with an old antenna and a newer TV with a digital tuner. Cable TV is pretty much a necessity if you want TV around here as there is just too much interference as it is an urban environment. The stations here broadcast mostly on the UHF side (3,18,22,40,57,61).

I have a DVR and that is nice as you can watch TV on your schedule instead of the programming provider's schedule.

I am surprised the cable providers are not waging a war on streaming services as they create an environment of unfair competition. I personally think if streaming services are going to compete with traditional TV providers, they should have to play by the same rules as traditional cable providers.
--
I've experienced ImOn (when they were McLeod USA), Mediacom, Comcast, and Time Warner. They are much better than broadcast TV.

I have not and will not cut the cord.

LightS
Premium
join:2005-12-17
Greenville, TX

Re: I'll never cut the cord

said by IowaCowboy:

I am surprised the cable providers are not waging a war on streaming services as they create an environment of unfair competition. I personally think if streaming services are going to compete with traditional TV providers, they should have to play by the same rules as traditional cable providers.

They do try. I hope they never have to; completely different
Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO
Well of course you wont and we wouldnt expect anyone such as yourself that has a direct financial interest in NOT doing so.

said by IowaCowboy:

I personally think if streaming services are going to compete with traditional TV providers, they should have to play by the same rules as traditional cable providers.

Please provide me at least one example of "rules" that a company that streams needs to follow that a traditional TV provider has to follow that actually is in any way related to streaming.
davidhoffman
Premium
join:2009-11-19
Warner Robins, GA
kudos:3
Did you ever try satellite delivered television, like DirecTV or DishNetwork?

IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast

Re: I'll never cut the cord

said by davidhoffman:

Did you ever try satellite delivered television, like DirecTV or DishNetwork?

I've had both, and while I was not thrilled with Dish Network, I had a good experience with DirecTV. It just that DirecTV got too expensive and it was cheaper to bundle with Comcast as I have to deal with them anyways for Internet and home phone.

Brian_M

join:2004-06-19
Manchester, GA
Reviews:
·Charter
·Windstream

I'm a cable cutter, certainly no Unicorn

My wife and I are ~9 months out from cutting and don't miss it. That's money that a traditional "bundle" company will NEVER receive again. Funny, but cutting also meant cutting watching hours too as Hulu, Amazon and Netflix fail to deliver much content that we have interest in watching (we demoed each, pay for none). We can't receive any OTA either, so that's out as well.

I sure as hll don't miss the 20 minutes of forced commercials an hour, and realize now that most of the "content" was trash and I only watched it because I was there, it was there and why go do something else? Gotta LOVE not having biased news shoved down my throat too... funny how you can get a more complete picture with Google News in less time from multiple sources.

I honestly can't think of anything I miss. Our TV is now turned off except for the occasional movie (oh, any my wife uses a 2nd TV in our exercise area for doing exercise videos).

I think the next step will be to ditch the TV completely ~ we will just have to wait and see what happens when our current unit dies.

djrobx
Premium
join:2000-05-31
Valencia, CA
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·VOIPO

Re: I'm a cable cutter, certainly no Unicorn

Cutting the PayTV cord I can see, but cutting the whole TV seems pretty miserable. We like gathering around the big monitor and watching shows / movies / playing video games.

We re-signed up to Netflix as well. The content and usability are excellent. It doesn't have everything, but there's a lot to watch, no commercials, great interface, and it's inexpensive.

I'm not a sports fan, so that would make dropping PayTV easier for me. Sports are VERY popular though, I think they alone could keep cord cutting from being mainstream.
--
AT&T U-Hearse - RIP Unlimited Internet 1995-2011
Rethink Billable.
Telco

join:2008-12-19

Re: I'm a cable cutter, certainly no Unicorn

I re-signed up to netflix and love it. And I don't use that term very often around here.

It's easy to access via our sony blu-ray player and clearer than our HD cable service.
FactChecker
Premium
join:2008-06-03

Is Netflix driving the end of a la carte Internet?

With Netflix OpenConnect, Netflix passes through all their expensive infrastructure, facilities, network, transit, etc cost. Sort of a required "fee" for the privilege of new Netflix content, "Super HD", etc. The ISP in turn passes through these new costs to ALL subscribers (not just Netflix users).

This is kinda like the ESPN model where all users pay for the "channel" or content, whether you watch it or not.
We've already seen this tested with ESPN360.

I can see a lot of content owners LOVING this model and shifting their growing Internet costs to ISPs who must in turn spread these costs out to ALL customers. Not sure how this plays out however in the long run, but everyone sharing Netflix, ESPN, etc Internet costs may not be the best strategy.
--
"Too often we... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy

Swindle
Shattered Dreams

join:2006-07-24
Tampa, FL
Reviews:
·Bright House

2 edits

Re: Is Netflix driving the end of a la carte Internet?

I've recently resubscribed to a Triple Bundle through BHN ... mainly due to my mother's lack of knowledge on how to operate something as simple as a DVD Player and the extra functions of a set-top box. She uses the Digital Set-Top for channel tuning only.

On the next round of rate hikes from BHN, I'll be downgrading to a double combo package without television unless a deal that I can't pass up comes along.
--
B-Movie DVDs
Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO
Yet another poster that thinks they understand everything.

Why dont you take some time to educate yourself on OpenConnect and learn how it provides a win win situation for both the ISP and Netflix.

Keep in mind, that even if Netflix didnt do OpenConnect the user's of said ISP is STILL going to be requesting lots of packets from Netflix peering partner to get their content. How do you propose that the ISP deal with delivering the packets that their own customers are requesting?

Daibheid

@cox.net

Saving $$

We cut the cord several months ago and haven't looked back. I can watch any TV show I want online through Hulu, Amazon, and Netflix. We're looking at getting an HD antenna to get local stuff. I've got at least 2 others to cut the cord and my parents are now looking at dropping cable. If we can each get at least one person to drop cable, maybe companies will take notice.
ArizonaSteve

join:2004-01-31
Apache Junction, AZ

1 recommendation

A La Carte Pricing?

If Ergen is a Fan of A La Carte Pricing why doesn't he have A La Carte Pricing?

jdofaz

@170.177.21.x

Re: A La Carte Pricing?

Not only that but about a year ago Dish eliminated the option to subscribe to HBO,Showtime or Starz without having a base package

davegtestr

join:2001-11-07
Bothell, WA

1 recommendation

Ah, he is not allowed to provide it per Time Warner, ABC/Disney/ESPN, NBC Universal, et al. cartels. DISH actually tried it but it didn't go far. They do have a $20 package with no committment if you want to buy and install your equipment and also a prepaid option.
TuxRaiderPen

join:2009-09-19

Still missing the point...

While I have and will continue to use DBS and specifically Dish.. the content which I consume the majority of does NOT come via Dish.

It comes from online, and NO that doesn't mean hulu, netflix or anything related.

He is right that if your not paying for crable or DBS now, your not likely to purchase it later.. but the point he is forgetting is that there are those that are not going to purchase these "cord cutting" services either. I am not. Nor will I use them with delays and/or ads for free.

I've thought the US House of Cards was very well done, and compared quite well with its UK original. This is one of the few cases I can't compare the novel[s]|book[s] as I elected to watch v. reading them due namely to my huge back log of such situations... but MY $$$ didn't pay for nethax to produce it, and never will.

And as others have warned, a la carte pricing... careful what you wish for! I most assuredly want to quit paying the sports crap tax for content I don't want, care about, or watch.

So if you wan't to gut the sports crap out of my package and move it to its own tier, I am all for it! (Yes I am aware of the disney/abc plan in re ESPN and holding other channels hostage... meh... pull them! disney channels, ABC O&O, pull them! other ABC, pull them! My content from them doesn't come via DISH!) BUT other channels which content doesn't show up in online formats a la carte pricing would be a bad, VERY BAD THING.

Complete cord cutting? Not likely in my situation as I like to have background noise, but cutting back on the package.. is MOST DEFINITELY COMING from the AET to something much less, MUCH LESS since I am getting that content elsewhere.
--
1311393600 - Back to Black.....Black....Black....

Brian_M

join:2004-06-19
Manchester, GA
Reviews:
·Charter
·Windstream

Re: Still missing the point...

We liked the background noise too.... funny how well Pandora fills in that little irk. And if you just like background noise and video, Netflix does a nice job of moving between episodes without your involvement, just que up some TV series you like and let her rip.

Heck, today I haven't even turned on my main computer (HTPC that handles music and video).

nonamesleft

join:2011-11-07
Manitowoc, WI
Reviews:
·Comcast
·Callcentric

1 recommendation

Why aren't certain channels on a la carte then?

One of the channels I wanted was diy network, but it was way the hell up on top 250...which I refused to go back up to, then came the rate hike notices for 2013, the top 120 was not worth 5 bucks more, so I dumped satellite completely, pay tv free going on month 2.
mist668

join:2011-02-15
Middleburg, PA
Reviews:
·ProLog

Rid of

Dish for about a month now. Get about 12 channels on OTA (Fox, ABC, and the rest is PBS and non profit stuff). Use netflix for other shows. Yeah I sure miss some of the stuff that was on pay tv but it is no way worth more to me then the $75ish I was spending monthly for dish.

tuaris
You Clicked on the Apple

join:2001-10-19
Naples, FL

Look at What Disney is doing.

What Disney has done with the 3 TV channels they operate is a huge step forward. The downside is that you still need to subscribe to cable.

I have no doubt that the day will soon come when Disney will offer access to theses channels to the general public for a monthly fee.
Satch

join:2009-11-25

Cable Cord Cutting

The Dish Network CEO's comments are very insightful considering the troubled economy and that some form of ala-carte-pricing should at least be tried as customers need cheaper rates.

Satch

cheap om

@rr.com

I never paid for cable in 66 years.

I hate sports and really really hate FOX. I never paid a penny to any cable company ever and never will---at least until I'm able to pay for what I want. Why would I pay for something I dislike?

antdude
A Ninja Ant
Premium,VIP
join:2001-03-25
United State
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

Re: I never paid for cable in 66 years.

said by cheap om :

I hate sports and really really hate FOX. I never paid a penny to any cable company ever and never will---at least until I'm able to pay for what I want. Why would I pay for something I dislike?

Cable was around for 66 years?
--
Ant @ AQFL.net and AntFarm.ma.cx. Please do not IM/e-mail me for technical support. Use this forum or better, »community.norton.com ! Disclaimer: The views expressed in this posting are mine, and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.
34764170

join:2007-09-06
Etobicoke, ON

1 recommendation

Re: I never paid for cable in 66 years.

said by antdude:

Cable was around for 66 years?

No, he has never paid for cable in the time that he has been alive.

antdude
A Ninja Ant
Premium,VIP
join:2001-03-25
United State
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

Re: I never paid for cable in 66 years.

said by 34764170:

said by antdude:

Cable was around for 66 years?

No, he has never paid for cable in the time that he has been alive.

Ah OK. The only time my parents paid for cable was in PA back in the mid 1980s/80s since OTA didn't work in the forest.
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink

1 recommendation

Ala Carte: Not Cheap

The content, network, broadcast, studio and distribution (ISP?MSO) Industry isn't willing to take the chance on ala carte, even though they'd likely earn more.

Consumers aren't willing to recognize that ala-carte would have to be revenue-neutral in order to sell to industry.

Charlie has proven himself to be quite innovative, technology-wise, over the years, but that has done nothing for affordability or choice, nor is going to.

Netflix/Redbox/Blockbuster content doesn't count.

•••
scajjr

join:2005-03-01
Kingston, NH
Reviews:
·Comcast

1 edit

2 years later, still don't miss cable

Coming up on 2 years after cutting the cord. I put 2 antennas up in the attic and we get 27 OTA channels. We have Amazon Prime but mainly for the free 2-day shipping, don't watch much on it.
We use PlayOn and some scripts for it to watch TV shows (works like an on-demand, content is just on the net though) , content we find on the net and all our video and music is on our NAS so every pc in the house can stream it.
If I was the sports nut I was as a younger man I'd probably get the MLB web service though if the Golf Channel ever does I'm there but as they're in bed with Comcast/NBC I doubt that'll happen anytime soon.