Dish Network's main money man, Charlie Ergen was all over the Sirius-XM money crunch last month and while some suggested it was bandwidth they are after - it now looks like it might just be raw subscribers. Reuters is out with news today that Dish, the number 2 satellite TV provider, lost a whopping 102,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2008. More losses are expected Q1, 2009 as Dish's relationship with AT&T is about to come to a close. DirecTV is beaming in HD resolutions via Verizon's Fios network where available.
Overall Dish Network has just a shade under 14,000,000 users which is behind industry leader DirecTV but is nothing to scoff at in terms of paid users. DirecTV's NFL deal is still keeping millions of sports fans locked into the provider's services and paying premiums to get in and out of market games in HD and with both cities broadcast feeds. Dish is a leader in 1080p HD content via satellite.
Losing partnerships like the AT&T deal clearly will hurt but people today are sticking with television over nearly all other traditional media. The Super Bowl was the second most watched television broadcast ever (behind the last episode of M.A.S.H.) while newspapers and print mags fold left and right.