#1: Dish to Merge With...Someone
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
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
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
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