DISH Network believes entertainment (and news and sports) is a dish best served from the sky. The company is the #2 provider of satellite-based pay-TV in the US (behind AT&T-owned DIRECTV), serving some 14 million subscribers, commercial clients in hospitality, restaurants, and retail. Programming includes premium movies, SIRIUS radio, on-demand video service, regional and specialty sports, local and international channels, and pay-per-view in addition to basic video programming. It offers bundled voice and Internet services through partnerships with voice and data communications providers. DISH generates all of its sales in the US.
The company offers about 3,100 local channels, including standard definition channels in all US markets and HD channels in 190 of the some 210 national markets. It also carries Sirius radio channels, premium movie channels, regional and specialty sports channels, and pay-per-view channels. Its DISH OnDemand service offers more than 10,000 movies and TV shows over TVs, computers, tablets, and smartphones. The dishanywhere.com website also offers authorized content to DISH subscribers on multiple devices.
For cord-cutters (those without Pay TV subscriptions) DISH offers Sling TV, a streaming service with 20 channels for $20 a month. Additionally the company carries more than 250 channels that broadcast in 28 languages other than English.
The company also offers broadband Internet service, delivered, of course, by satellite. With little need for ground-based infrastructure, the DISH Internet service targets rural areas with little or not wired broadband. The service provides download speeds of up to 15 megabits of data per second. We lease the customer premise equipment to subscribers and generally pay Hughes and ViaSat a wholesale rate per subscriber on a monthly basis.
DISH provides its programming options via satellites that it owns or leases from satellite equipment and services provider EchoStar (spun off by DISH in 2008). The company distributes its programming from operations centers also owned by EchoStar. DISH subscribers access the service using a small satellite dish and digital set-top receivers.
While the satellite TV service is offered nationally, DISH's voice and Internet services are confined to a swath of the western US that includes the states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, the Dakotas, Oregon, and Washington.
Sales and Marketing
The company gains new subscribers through third parties, including national retailers and telecommunications firms, local and regional electronics stores, and small satellite retailers, among other channels. Customer acquisition costs continued to fall in 2015. It cost $723 per customer in 2015, a big drop from $853 per customer in 2014 and $866 in 2013. The average monthly revenue per subscriber for Pay TV increased to $86.79 in 2015 from $83.77 in 2014. The churn rate per subscriber increased to 1.71% in 2015 from 1.59% in 2014.
DISH has produced steady, if unspectacular, revenue growth in the past few years and that continued in 2015. The company's revenue came in at just more than $15 billion, a 3% increase from $14.6 billion in 2014. The company credited prices increases levied in early 2015 and more hardware-related sales for the increase, despite the loss of about 79,000 Pay TV subscribers during the year. Prices increases also contributed to the higher churn rate.
DISH's net income fell 21% in 2015 to $747 million because of the expense of bidding on and winning an FCC auction for wireless spectrum and the impairment of long-lived D1 satellite and related ground equipment assets.
Cash from operating activities was $2.44 billion in 2015, a 1% increase from 2014.
While DISH has much on its plate with its satellite business, it launched another version of pay-TV in 2015. The Sling TV streaming service offers a variety of channels for a $20 monthly subscription. Delivered over the Internet to computer, mobile devices, and services such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Xbox One, it offers live viewing of sought after cable channels HBO and ESPN and others. For additional fees Sling TV offers more tiers of programming of news and children’s shows as well as a video on-demand programming library.
DISH is promoting its home hardware as an advantage. It offers the Hopper digital video recorder and the Joey set-top box with features and functions designed to make watching TV easier. The latest version of Hopper was available in the 2016 first quarter. It features 16 tuners, provides 4K Ultra HD experience, and supports up to seven TVs simultaneously.
In 2015, the company successfully bid about $9 billion for a number of wireless spectrum licenses that the US Federal Communications Commission auctioned. The company has options to offer wireless telephone service, sell it, or wait to see if its value rises. DISH planned to participate in a 2016 wireless spectrum auction.