Deeper Dive—What's really going on with Dish's new 'Alliance Group'

The new Dish Alliance Group is seeking to have operators with broadband-only service offerings let Dish sell their products through the satellite operator's own sales channel, which includes Dish retail outlets. (Dish Network)

Clarifying the goals of its new Alliance Group, Dish Network said it will not be licensing its pay TV services to third-party broadband-only operators but rather doing the “bundling” itself.

“We’re not licensing our video services to broadband providers,” said Dish spokesperson Chelsea Satkowiak, responding to a FierceCable inquiry about the Dish operating unit. “We’re looking to expand our third-party broadband partnerships and sell their broadband through our Dish-owned customer experience centers.”

A week ago, FierceCable reported that Dish has quietly launched a new business unit it's calling the Dish Alliance Group, which will seek out strategic enterprise partnerships for Dish video services with broadband-only service providers. Dish is looking for bundling partners not only for its linear satellite service but also for its Sling TV virtual MVPD platform and its complimentary AirTV OTT player.

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Details at the time were a bit sketchy—Fierce Telecom Group Editor Mike Dano discovered a LinkedIn page for Perry Crider, a five-year satellite TV company veteran who appeared to be leading a new marketing unit at Dish. I followed Mike's tip and discovered a marketing page for the new program. 

I also reached out to Satkowiak, who gave us a terse statement. With her limited direction, and some additional analysis, I've been able to shed a little additional insight into the new program. 

RELATED: Dish quietly launches Alliance Group to license video services to broadband-only providers

As we know, Dish is faced with a fast-eroding user base for its linear satellite TV service, a problem that is only partly offset by its fast-growing vMVPD service, Sling TV. With no other services to bundle, Dish has to cede the portion of the market that wants bundled “double,” “triple” and “quad-play” pricing and service efficiency. So, partnering with companies—notably smaller cable operators—that don’t want to get their balance sheets dirty amid the ever-more-expensive business of pay TV program licensing makes sense. 

“Many broadband companies offer their own video solution but increasing programming costs and a large number of internet-only customers have left many looking for alternate video solutions,” said the Dish marketing page touting the new division. 

Englewood, Colorado-based Dish is also selling operators on its network of retail stores and its residential installation services. 

Dish is looking to keep accounting and infrastructure separate. “We consider this a synthetic bundle, in which you own and bill the Broadband portion and Dish owns and bills the video portion,” Dish says in its marketing material. 

As part of the pitch, Dish is selling, well, its sales acumen. “Partnering with the Dish Referral Marketing Program through the Alliance Group gives your company a new sales and marketing arm with which to sell Dish video solutions to internet-only customers,” the satellite operator said. “No need to clog the pipes with unprofitable video content when you can partner with Dish and offer the best-in-class video service to your customer base.”

The program appears brand-new—the URL for the program’s PDF brochure indicates that it was published as recently as Dec. 21. 

Notably, Dish doesn’t appear to have any clients to announce for the new initiative, which may explain why its PR department isn’t out there touting it. 

Deeper Dive is a new weekly column, appearing on Friday, offering more in-depth reporting on a story appearing earlier in the week on FierceCable.