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Dish says it wants to offer a Web TV service later this year. ESPN and some other Disney channels are on board.
Who else could Dish get, if it wants to hit its retail target price of $30 a month?
Here’s a theoretical list, courtesy of Bernstein Research’s Todd Juenger. He figures Dish could conceivably sign up the broadcast networks, along with some channels from Viacom, 21st Century Fox, AMC and Comcast*. So you’d get all the sports you need, plus “Mad Men,” “The Daily Show,” and “Aqua Team Hunger Force,” for when you’re stoned.
That lineup would be about $22 a month in programming fees, and Juenger is dubious that Dish can make money selling that bundle for $30 (DirecTV CEO Mike White is also skeptical). He’s also dubious that there’s a very big market for this lineup, because after you factor in broadband fees, you’re going to end up with a service that will be pretty close to the cost of a traditional pay TV/Internet bundle.
More provocatively, Juenger speculates that a Dish Web bundle might provoke someone else to market a much cheaper Web bundle. If you wanted to cut costs, you’d go without Disney, ESPN and ABC, which cost about $11 a month, and ditch the rest of the broadcast channels, too. (After all, they’re technically free to anyone with an antenna).
Then you could end up with a package of about 50 cable channels, which would cost about $11, and could retail for $15. And if you paired it with Netflix or Amazon Prime, that might be pretty interesting. You still get Don Draper, Jon Stewart and Robot Chicken, plus “Chopped,” “Deadliest Catch,” etc. You’d just have to be happy without sports, and you’d have to figure out what to do about broadcast TV.
* Comcast owns NBCUniversal, which is an investor in Re/code.