Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) Chairman Charlie Ergen is upbeat about company prospects, even as he expects mass disruption ahead as the streaming wars get going in earnest.
Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference, he says streaming is “going to be a bit of a bloodbath for a while,” ahead of major launches of HBO Max (NYSE:T) and the now-named NBCU service Peacock (NASDAQ:CMCSA), as well as Disney Plus (NYSE:DIS).
But he’s “much more enthusiastic on our video business” with Dish getting into wireless, he says.
“The game now is to load up your channels and get as much shelf space as you can, while you undercut them [distributors] with your direct-to-consumer offering,” Ergen says.
He also says he’s willing to lose channels if the economics don’t make sense, particularly with a rural focus going forward: “HBO has too much sex and violence, so it is not a big deal for us; for Comcast it might be a big deal,” he said. “Now, if we lost Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), that would be a problem.”
Meanwhile, earlier AT&T defended its media moves against a push by Elliott Management, which would like to see DirecTV divested. Combining DirecTV with Dish has “always made sense,” Ergen tells dealReporter, but while there’s certainly “synergies and economics” in favor, the issue would remain to be getting regulatory approval for the move.