Dish’s Ergen Thinks Streaming is Going to Be A ‘Bloodbath’, At Least For Now

Earlier this morning, Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen sent chills through the industry when he indicated that streaming “is going to be a bit of a bloodbath for a while.” The message comes as more and more companies enter the industry — including today’s announcement of NBCU’s Peacock — which he feels just undercut distributors like Dish.

While the streaming industry may become more challenging, Ergen feels that their early entry into the market with Sling TV will benefit the company long-term — especially as they go into the wireless industry. But, the company isn’t afraid to drop channels if the economics don’t make sense. In July, both Dish and Sling TV dropped Fox Regional Sports Networks, which Ergen has earlier said “doesn’t look good that the Regional Sports (Networks) will be on Dish again.”

That isn’t the only content dispute that Dish has faced in the last year. Last November, HBO was removed from Sling & Dish in a dispute with AT&T. Ergen says that it hasn’t been a “big deal” since the content doesn’t fit their audience.

Sling TV though has hit a wall in terms of growth as new entrants has entered the market. In July, the service announced that it reached 2.47 million subscribers, but they’ve added just 251,000 subscribers since the end of 2017. With the slowing growth, some believe that Hulu Live TV has surpassed the service in size, despite being nearly twice as expensive. But, Sling TV hasn’t seen nearly the bloodbath that AT&T has with their DIRECTV NOW service (now called AT&T TV NOW) - which has lost 518,000 subscribers in the last three quarters.