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May 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The heads of the two direct-satellite services, DISH and DirecTV, appear to be taking a damned-if-you-do/damned-if-you-don’t approach to dealing with the threat of cord-cutting. DISH said on Thursday that it’s planning to offer a pared-down Internet-delivered TV service by the end of the year for about $20-30 per month. The service will focus on sports and children’s programming but deliver certain other entertainment programs as well, DISH chairman Charlie Ergen said during a conference call with reporters and analysts on Thursday. Ergen indicated that his company is taking a cautious approach to the issue of cord cutting, wary that the low-cost Internet service could cannibalize the company’s satellite subscribers. On the other hand, he said, he didn’t want to wake up one morning to discover that some other company was already offering such a TV-over-the-Internet service. Dish is just a company that would rather be out front and make some mistakes and be ahead of the curve,” he remarked. CEO Mike White of rival DirecTV commented earlier in the week that his company is also considering assembling a similar small package of channels for broadband-only subscribers. He said he is particularly concerned about the cost of rights payments for programming. “I just think it’s a question of [having] to pay for retrans[mission fees] and then how many other things you’re going to add into that thing and then at what point does the price point become $34.99, $39.99 or $44.99 before you get beyond what consumers will bear,” he said. The business website Re/code summed up the attitude of the satellite execs this way: “It’s hard to make much money assembling a package of channels … at a price consumers would be willing to pay, because no one in the TV Industrial Complex wants to fundamentally disrupt their own business.”