Dish Network and DirecTV Find Themselves at Opposite Ends of the Satellite Spectrum

Facing competition from online video, not to mention the maturation of subscription television business in the U.S., satellite-TV operators Dish Network and DirecTV are responding in completely opposite ways.

DirecTV is well-advanced on a debt-fueled share buyback. Dish, in contrast, is spending money on diversification. It has bought video chain Blockbuster and wireless spectrum. It also plans to buy satellite-wireless businesses DBSD North America and TerreStar. To top it all off, last week it disclosed its plan to build a new U.S. wireless network for broadband. Strategically, Dish's stance makes some sense. A wireless-broadband network would give Dish a hedge against erosion of its TV business, something cable operators already have through their broadband operations. While both Dish and DirecTV are offering online-video programming to subscribers, that product relies on customers having Internet connections through rival cable or phone companies.


Dish Network and DirecTV Find Themselves at Opposite Ends of the Satellite Spectrum