EchoStar is thinking inside the box. The company provides TV set-top boxes (STBs) primarily to former parent DISH Network, as well as similar satellite service providers. Its STB portfolio includes HD and standard definition devices that incorporate digital video recorders. Other products include satellite dishes, remote controls, and cable receivers. EchoStar also owns Sling Media, which sells STBs that enable customers to view their home TV signal on Internet-connected devices. Subsidiary Hughes Communications provides Internet service to consumers in North America and network services and systems to businesses worldwide. The US accounts for most of sales.
The company's EchoStar Technologies segment accounts for just more than half of sales and includes its STB and digital broadcasting operations. The Hughes broadband Internet segment contributes about 35% of sales and EchoStar Satellite Services (satellite capacity leasing, primarily to DISH Network) generates about 10%.
EchoStar has operations across the US and in Brazil, Germany, India, The Netherlands, the UK, and Ukraine. Its largest market is the US, which accounts for about three-fourths of sales.
Sales and Marketing
DISH Network is far and away EchoStar's largest customer, accounting for about three-fourths of sales in both the EchoStar Technologies and EchoStar Satellite Services segments. The only other customer of note is Bell TV, which accounts for nearly 15% of the Technologies segment's revenue.
The company reported 13% revenue growth in 2012 to $3.1 billion, the third consecutive year of double-digit growth. A decline of about 7% in the Technologies segment was more than offset by a jump of 71% from Hughes as it powered increases in equipment and service revenue. Revenue from DISH Network declined year-over-year, primarily because of lower revenue per unit for DISH Network's STBs and related accessories.
Net income returned to a normal range of $211 million in 2012 after lowered gains on investments in 2011pushed net income down to about $4 million.
EchoStar sees the still-growing demand for broadband services as a rich source of growth opportunities. Besides looking for additional customers for its STBs, the company's strategy includes capitalizing on the proliferation of advanced technologies in its boxes that could spark replacement cycles. EchoStar also has dormant satellite and fiber capacity that it hopes will tempt more customers, such as vendors of pay-TV, satellite-based broadband service, corporate communications, and government services. Bundling services and reaching new markets are high on its list of priorities. Customers outside the US are also particularly attractive. EchoStar considers the more modest cable and telecom infrastructures in many global markets to be particularly suited for satellite-delivered services that could be deployed more quickly.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Hughes was acquired in 2011 for $2 billion. The deal gave EchoStar an extensive satellite and wireless broadband data product and service portfolio and expertise, while significantly extending its commercial satellite infrastructure with the fleet that powers Hughes' global data, voice, and video transmission system. The deal is also a play to diversify its business model that has seen anywhere from 80% to 90% of sales coming from its STBs (now mitigated to about 65%), and about 80% of that coming from DISH Network. The acquisition also added more international customers and opened up options for transmitting mobile video to wireless device users. Hughes' broadband Internet access services are focused on consumers in North America, while the broadband network business caters to enterprise customers and extends internationally, and also includes managed services and network systems products for wireless backhaul and mobile satellite terminals. Hughes operates about 20 satellites that enable its HughesNet system.
To entrench itself further in broadband delivery trends, EchoStar acquired Utah-based Internet video streaming provider Move Networks in 2011. The acquisition allows EchoStar to offer the ability to stream live and on-demand video.
EchoStar and DISH Network chairman Charles Ergen controls nearly 80% of the company.