Dish Boss Charlie Ergen Urges Disney, Time Warner to ‘Think Long Term’ About Content, Streaming

“It’s easy to get to the end of the year, end of the quarter, sell some content out the back door [and] don’t think it’s going to hurt your core business in the short-run,” he warns

Last Updated: November 9, 2015 @ 11:04 AM

Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen happily, yet humbly, offered Disney CEO Bob Iger a bit of advice for the future during a Monday conference call. But first, the satellite company boss was sure to display a bit of modesty and humor.

“I go to Bob Iger for advice,” Ergen began his answer to an analyst’s big-picture question. “He’s generally more competent than me.”

Switching to the sincere, the Dish co-founder explained that the biggest thing for content providers right now — such as Iger’s Disney — is to “think long term.”

“It’s easy to get to the end of the year, end of the quarter, sell some content out the back door [and] don’t think it’s going to hurt your core business in the short-run,” Ergen said. “You’ve got a one-quarter gain and you make your bonus … [but] where can you take content to maximize your longterm value?”

The media analyst had asked what Ergen believes execs like Iger and Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes should do when considering the launch of subscriber video on-demand products. Dish has one foot in the traditional “cable” model — where it has been losing subscribers — and the other in TV Everywhere via over-the-top service Sling, so Ergen has some industry knowledge to impart.

Placing a gold star on the Netflix model, he continued, “They made sure their content was available on every device and … you could binge-view it, and they made their content advertising free and they’ve been fairly consistent in their pricing — that’s why people gravitated to it.”

That’s who Disney and Time Warner’s HBO should be emulating, Ergen opined. Last week, Iger hinted at a future streaming play; HBO has its own in the form of HBONow.

“If I was the incumbent, I’d just look at what can I learn from that? Which companies are moving in that direction, and how can I partner with them to get my content out in a way that people will consume it and pay me for it?” he stated.

“It’s really easy to sell $100 million in programming content to somebody, but you’ve got to look at it in the big picture,” Ergen warned those who prefer sending their shows to an outside platform, like a Hulu or Netflix.

Of course, Ergen was merely asking a question posed to him, and this quarter may not be the best one for the executive to dish out words of wisdom.

Earlier on Monday, Dish reported its third quarter 2015 financials, missing Wall Street’s revenue estimates but topping earnings per share expectations.

The company grew its profit, though TV subscribers continued to trend downward. Dish’s stock slid in the same negative direction when the U.S. stock markets opened — though it’s rallied back a bit at the time of this writing. Currently, DISH stock has leveled off around $62.56 per share, down more than a buck apiece and just below 2 percent.