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2013 Predictions
Prediction #1: Dish to Merge With...Someone
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (December 30, 2012) -- Editor's Note: Swanni today is making his annual predictions for TV technology for the upcoming year. To see all 10 forecasts for 2013, click the Home Page of TVPredictions.com.

Dish execs Charlie Ergen and Joe Clayton this year have repeatedly hinted their company might soon merge with satellite rival DIRECTV. And why not? Despite being a technology leader in its field (see article on
Dish's Hopper HD DVR), the company still lags behind DIRECTV in revenue, subscriptions and just about every other financial measure you can think of.

Plus, Dish faces a potentially costly lawsuit from the networks over the Hopper's ad-zapping feature and, like DIRECTV, a growing list of competitors from both the streaming (Netflix, Redbox Instant, Amazon) and pay TV businesses (Verizon, AT&T).

Dish now has roughly 14 million subscribers, but it's not hard to envision that number shrinking in the next few years unless it merges with another company.

DIRECTV makes the most sense for a merger. Noting the increased competition -- and the rising cost of acquiring programming -- the nation's largest satcaster has also
publicly acknowledged the wisdom of bringing the companies together.

However, DIRECTV has also been
more dubious than Dish about the possibility of federal regulators approving the merger. After all, the two companies tried to merge before only to see the feds kill it in 2002 on grounds that it would be anti-competitive.

So I predict that Dish will aggressively seek a merger with DIRECTV in 2013. If DIRECTV ultimately says no, I further predict that Dish will join forces with another communications company such as Sprint, Verizon or AT&T.

See Swanni's Prediction #2

What do you think? Offer your comments below!

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