Changing Television for Everyone
The risk paid off, and now six years later, EchoStar can claim over 5.5 million subscribers.
The men knew the market was there to exploit. Consumers were becoming increasingly unsatisfied with cable, along with the fact that there were plenty of places that cable couldn't reach but a satellite signal from space could. They also knew that, as dish size decreased, the market increased. They saw that time and time again with C-band dishes. DBS allowed the size-to-market ratio to go even further.
And EchoStar offered consumers something no other DBS company at the time could—affordable hardware. DeFranco explained, "When we entered the DBS business, a system was $1,000 installed. One of the first things we did was integrate a subscription into the hardware costs." EchoStar's offer of a $199 dish and receiver had the effect of turning the subscription television industry upside down. Satellite television moved from a product for rich ranch owners to something most American homeowners could afford. "We have, through our own existence, driven competition into the market," noted Ergen.