Forget Sling TV. Wait until you see Sony’s Playstation Vue OTT product. That was the vibe from DISH’s Charlie Ergen as he talked about the potential for disruption. “As we understand it, it’s a much more comprehensive OTT product that really will be a direct replacement to cable, satellite and phone’s video subscriptions. I think that will be much more interesting because it will actually have an impact on the MVPD market,” he said. That doesn’t mean DISH isn’t pleased with the admittedly early results for its $20/month Sling service thus far (it launched commercially 2 weeks ago). Execs said they were encouraged, and described the subs as skewing younger and male with many taking advantage of its free trial offer. How do programmers fit into the OTT mix? Compared to 3 years ago, more programmers are concerned about not being on the platform than about joining the platform, execs said. “Sling is part of a strategy to take content to a more mobile, wireless basis because that’s how the next generation is going to watch television,” Ergen said. He said that means any wireless deal DISH does with someone would have to include a heavy video component. Which brings us to all this spectrum from AWS3 auction (DISH invested in SNR Wireless and Northstar Wireless, which bid $13.3bln on airwaves in key areas, including NY and Chicago)… It sounds like the company’s open to everything, including possibly a leasing arrangement. While DISH has been a vocal opponent of a proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger, it didn’t say too much about the deal Mon. DISH gen counsel Stanton Dodge said the combo would have a negative impact on Sling TV, with DISH’s own analysis showing it could survive if Comcast or TWC blocked the service, but not if you put them together. As for DISH’s results, well, its programming disputes that saw Fox News and some Turner nets go dark along with CBS O&Os had an impact (and will have an impact again in 1Q results). DISH lost 63K subs, worse than the Street’s 31K expectation. Margins were better-than-expected at $822mln, $102mln ahead of consensus. Revenue climbed 4% to $3.68bln. Given DISH’s willingness to tango, some have wondered if it would follow the path of Cable One and Suddenlink and drop Viacom nets when the contract expires. The 2 sounded pretty cozy, with Ergen describing Viacom as one of its better programming relationships. DISH just renewed a deal with Viacom for Epix. “We don’t talk about negotiations per se, but as we get into those things, as long as we’re treated fairly, I hope we’ll continue on with Viacom as we have for 20 years.”

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REVOLT Expands Distribution on Xfinity

Comcast and REVOLT signed an agreement that will significantly expand the network’s availability to Xfinity customers.

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