As we mentioned last week, if regulators approve the pending marriage of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, it would put pressure on the nation’s two largest satellite operators to combine in order to compete. And while Dish co-founder and Chairman Charlie Ergen isn’t talking about a tie-up with DirecTV just yet, he is pointing out that it would be hypocritical for the Comcast deal to be approved and a satellite merger to be denied.
“If you take the No. 1 and No. 4 [pay TV] providers and put them together, it’s hard to see why you can’t put No.2 and No. 3 together,” explained Ergen in a recent conference call to discuss quarterly earnings.
There was a previous attempt to combine Dish and DirecTV. In 2002, EchoStar (from which Dish was spun off in 2008) tried to merge with DirecTV, but that deal was scuttled when the FCC voiced concerns about one company having so much control over the pay TV market for the parts of rural America underserved by cable operators.
With regard to the Comcast/TWC merger, Ergen says “Nothing I can see is positive about this. If you are a pay TV provider and your name is not Comcast or Time Warner Cable, I don’t see anything positive.”
Dish Chief Says Comcast/TWC Deal ‘Puts Pressure On Everybody’ [MultiChannel News]