Washington, D.C. (June 24, 2013) -
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Answer Man, aka Swanni, takes your questions regarding how to
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Q. I read your
article last week that said Dish could still be interested in
merging with DIRECTV, but what I want to know is how would this
affect me, a Dish subscriber Would my bill go down? Would I get
more channels? -- John, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
John, that's a great question and
the type of question that we journalists have a tendency to
overlook. And that is: How will a major business decision affect
the average consumer? Journalists tend to write about the ins
and outs of the deal but forget to communicate what it means
specifically to the reader.
So let me get off my soap box now and explain what I think it
would mean to you, a Dish subscriber, and DIRECTV's subscribers
For starters, would it reduce your monthly bill? Probably not.
The two companies, if merged as one, would still need to charge
roughly the same amount for programming packages because the
cost of acquiring programming would not change. If anything, it
will continue to rise.
However, it's possible that a DIRECTV-Dish company would offer
some less expensive programming packages for people who simply
can't afford to pay more each month. The cheaper packages would
not include much more than your local channels and some basic
cable, but it would be an alternative for people trying to make
ends meet. (Plus, if DIRECTV buys Hulu -- a real possibility --
the new company could offer Hulu as part of the 'low-cost'
package, giving people more programming options.)
The low-cost package would also be a carrot for federal
regulators who will require some concessions to approve the deal
in the first place.
Second, I think a merger would allow the companies to eliminate
some redundancies in labor, production, infrastructure and
satellite development. In time, this would enable the
DIRECTV-Dish company to offer more services, such as more HD channels,
more Internet services and more innovative technology such as
Dish's Sling Media products and DIRECTV's Genie HD DVR.
Bottom line: I'm not saying the merger would necessarily be good
for the average consumer. After all, it would eliminate your
right to choose between the two satellite providers. But it
could create a company that would offer better service and more
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