The biggest complaints that Dish Network receives from the customers are regarding the huge bills they have to deal with every month, and also about paying for too many channels that they don’t watch. Commenting on that, Dish Network’s executive vice president of marketing, programming, and media sales, Warren Schlichting, said, “I think we reached a tipping point. The consumer’s appetite has changed for having hundreds of channels. If you take a step back, you’ll see programmers and distributors (like Dish) have incentive to grow the pay TV industry. And we better find a way to meet consumer demand or people are going to watch Netflix all day.”
In order to address both issues, Dish Network has introduced a Flex plan, which offers 50 popular channels, including CNN, Food Network, and USA Network, but skips local networks, for just $29.99 a month. Also, kid’s channels, local networks, and sports packs can be added to it on extra cost.
“If you want access to additional coverage of the presidential race, you can subscribe to the ‘News’ channel pack and then remove it once the election is over,” Dish representatives said in a press release. Experts commented that Dish CEO Charlie Ergen has “now established himself as the leader among traditional players — and as such, he is going to be the one who takes the arrows in the back. But at the same time, if there is success to be had here, he will discover it earlier than his peers.”
However, Schlichting said that, “[Dish Network] is not a charitable organization, that’s for sure. Video margins are being compressed. And we’re well aware of that. As a pure-play video provider, we don’t have mobile phones or broadband to subsidize us. We have to make money on video.”
The new Flex plan by Dish is quite similar to its Sling TV service, which offers 25 channels at $20 per month without local channels and long-term commitments. But even though the Flex plan is available at low cost with selected channels, it has 2-year commitment. If that contract is broken early, the termination fee is $20 a month.
Schlichting said that earlier the conversation with a customer who called for cancellation was limited. “But now when we have the conversation, it can be, ‘Hey, maybe you don’t have kids. Maybe you want this other pack.’ It’s definitely built on some of the learnings we’ve had from Sling.”
Dish does needs a boost as it has lost 281,000 subscribers by the end of June.