Week of 24 December 2007
Saturday: BREAKING NEWS
The new year will bring the big split we've talked about for several months now! Multichannel News is reporting that EchoStar Communications (which will become Dish Network Corp.) will begin distributing shares of the spinoff, EchoStar Holding Corp. (which will get the EchoStar Communications name), effective 12:01am MST on 1 January 2008. Each EchoStar Comm. (Dish Network Corp.) shareholder will receive for each share of common stock held at the close of business (5:00pm EST, 27 December 2007), 0.20 of a share of the same class of common stock of EchoStar Holding. EchoStar Holding will trade under the NASDAQ Global Select Market ticker symbol “SATS”; EchoStar Communications will trade on the same market under the ticker symbol “DISH”. Regular trading in shares of the former will commence 2 January 2008.
The troubled 61.5°W satellite location could be relieved soon, as EchoStar Satellite Operating Corporation (a subsidiary of EchoStar Communications) has filed before the FCC for an Application for Authority to Launch the AMC-14 Satellite and Operate that Satellite at 61.5°W. The satellite, scheduled to launch in 1Q 2008, is fully leased by EchoStar, who also requested the ability to temporarily use the satellite at 77°W, a Mexican DBS slot currently filled by the placeholder satellite EchoStar IV. Currently, EchoStar operates two satellites there; the troubled EchoStar III, which cannot be used to capacity, and EchoStar XII, formerly Rainbow I before Rainbow Media gave it to EchoStar with the Voom channels. It's about time EchoStar made a move! E*3 is very erratic, even though they get a transponder or two there once Sky Angel moves out next year. EchoStar is basically trying to get something more reliable.
Week of 17 December 2007
Site note: I don't do weekend updates, but this encoding thing has finally been fixed, so I did one. I'm also now using Crimson Editor 3.72.
BobaBird has saved me! My encoding disaster is no more, as the News Monitor is back. However, with this, I have a TWICE article on the Archos-Dish partnership. (The plugin is available at Archos's website, and works with ViP622 and ViP722 HD DVRs.
Unfortunately, coding issues got the best of my transition to HTML standards. The page became valid HTML 4.01 Transitional, but Chinese characters popped through. I was informed by a forward through Tony with a University of Michigan address as the original sender. I apologize for any inconvenience this caused. I hand-code the site, so there may be errors from time to time. Thank you for your continued patronage of the EKB and the News Monitor. SEC filing links are broken right now; if you see broken links, let me know at razboy5811 [at] msn [dot] com (address modified to block the spam filters). Please mark your emails with the prefix “EKB”, as this email account is personal and not part of the EKB. (I'm still new to this!)
EchoStar has thrown its hat into the 700 MHz spectrum auction ring, and is joined by 265 other competitors. More from Multichannel News.
Site note: I have added some things to the CalAmp and Archos stories from Monday and did some HTML housekeeping. Archive pages will be made starting on the week of Dec. 31 to begin holding old news.
(Note: italics are used for my opinion in this section.) Philip “Swanni” Swann of TVPredictions.com, who has frequently hit the mark with his predictions, has announced a big one. Swanni thinks DirecTV and EchoStar, parent of Dish Network (or possibly just DirecTV and Dish Network Corp., the spinoff company that will hold the Dish assets), will merge in 2008. He backs this viewpoint and claims it is of a different nature to the failed 2002 merger, with the rise of online video and telco cable, the possible XM-Sirius merger, home video set-tops, and high- definition. Such a merged company would have a more powerful high-definition base, combining the expansive HD capabilities of DirecTV, the Voom service of Dish Network, and the clout of satellite in general. I see some problems with this, however; I think it may be impossible to work the DSS and DVB systems together or create add-ons. DVB is an industry standard, used widely throughout Europe, and is also used by Dish; DirecTV uses DSS. Also a problem is that satellite is the only choice in some rural areas, leaving one forced to choose a merged D*-E*. The whole thing is at TVPredictions.com.
On a different note, satellite equipment maker CalAmp Corp. said today that it reached a settlement with EchoStar following product failure involving LNB drift in DP Twin and DPP Twin LNBs, the details of which are disclosed in an SEC filing. As a result, CalAmp will give EchoStar 1 million of its shares, a three-year warrant to purchase 350,000 more shares at $3.72 each, and a $5 million promissory note. EchoStar will pay $1.3 million of $2.3 million in outstanding accounts receivable due to CalAmp; CalAmp will cancel the remaning $1 million. More from Yahoo Finance; an SEC filing is available here.
We're not done yet! Fox News has sued EchoStarfor about $50 million today, saying it did not offer the channel in its most widely distributed package, America's Top 100, breaching a 1998 contract. The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. And they're right; both the Reuters article and the Dish Channel Chart agree that it's actually being distributed in America's Top 200 package. More from Reuters.
Archos 605 and 705 WiFi-enabled portable media players can now connect to ViP622 and ViP722 receivers to transfer TV shows via a plugin, available now at archos.com. Beginning in January, the Archos 605 and 705 players will be sold alongside Dish Network service. Yahoo Finance has more on this development; the plugin is also available here. (The article came from Denver, and it sounds canned indeed.
Another EchoStar SEC filing has crossed the News Monitor desk, and it is available here on the SEC's website.
Side note: This is the highest article count I've had to update ever, and I'm doing an extra update to handle it.
Week of 10 December 2007
Tuesday: BREAKING NEWS
AT&T will stop reselling DirecTV service in Q1 2008 and is “evaluating” its deal with Dish Network. Multichannel News has all the details.
Week of 12-03-07
Uncertainty is rising about the 700 MHz spectrum bidding and how it will affect Dish and AT&T. More from Multichannel News.
DirecTV is saying they're going to offer HD local channels in 76 markets by mid-2008. More from Transmitter News.
Week of 11-26-07
EchoStar was dealt a blow today when the U.S. Patent Office upheld a TiVo patent for the simultaneous recording and viewing of channels. This does not affect the pending appeal to the Federal Circuit, according to EchoStar, which issued a statement today on the news item. More from Multichannel News.
KeyOn Communications, which provides VoIP service to rural and small urban markets, will become a Dish Network retailer in 11 states. More from Transmitter News.
Week of 11-19-07
Talk about a possible E*-AT&T deal is on the rise, and so is the stock price once more. More from Broadcasting and Cable.
Added 11-26-07 Improvements to the Weather Channel interactive service have been rolled out. More from Multichannel News.
Week of 11-12-07
Site note: Weeks are now listed by Mondays and not by Tuesdays.
Update cycle note: There were major news items that came out today, so I have updated the site earlier than the normal Friday update cycle.
Dish Network is blaming problems in the housing and mortgage markets, as well as economic turmoil, for a loss of subscriber growth over last year. More from Multichannel News.
EchoStar's stock fell 16% on the low subscriber growth. Also today was a conference call about the earnings, as well as detailing how the spinoff will occur. Here is a synopsis:
- EchoStar Holding Corp. is created, also headed by current EchoStar CEO Charlie Ergen. Its assets will contain Sling Media, bought in September, the set-top business, and the satellites.
- The EchoStar common stock will be bought back for $1 billion next year. When the spinoff is complete, the current EchoStar Communications name will change to Dish Network Corp.
Also announced was that the satellite launches were moved to next year, when EchoStar is planned to launch three satellites now. All the juicy details of the conference call and more at Multichannel News.
Site coding note: It has been reported that major coding issues across the EKB have been occurring starting when the News Monitor went up a few weeks ago. The site has been recoded by BobaBird, so there are some differences. I am still very much learning HTML, so bear with me if you see coding issues.
Week of 11-5-07
DirecTV gained 240,000 subscribers in 3Q, but lost revenue. More from Broadcasting and Cable.
EchoStar Communications, Dish Network's parent company, reported a 12.9% increase in 3Q revenue compared to last year at the same time ($2.79 billion as opposed to $2.48 billion last year). Also reported: net income totaled $200 million, a $60 million improvement over last year; basic earnings per share went up 14 cents over 3Q 2006 to $0.45; and Dish Network added approximately 110,000 new subscribers during 3Q, bringing the subscriber estimate to 13,695,000. More from DBSTalk.
Week of 10-28-07
Landlords have struck exclusive deals with cable companies. The FCC is looking to end exclusive deals like these, possibly bringing new customers to satellite. More from the Chicago Tribune.
Dish has struck a deal with Ultimate Electronics, an electronics retailer concentrated in the lower Midwest, Southwest, and lower Great Plains, to sell its services through 32 stores. More at Yahoo Business.
Raymie Talks: 2 of the 32 stores Ultimate will be hawking Dish in are within 10 minutes of my house in the Phoenix area. One is in the expansion of a major mall, the other near a shopping cluster along I-10.