Dish Network, having suffered net subscriber losses in the two most recent quarters, is directly attacking rival satellite operator DirecTV on the price of its programming packages in a national print ad campaign -- which alleges that DirecTV spreads the costs from its exclusive NFL programming deal to all subscribers.
The Dish ad includes more than 800 words of copy, under the headline "Why We Cost Less," while emphasizing its low-cost programming packages and asserting that "no one offers more HD than Dish Network."
In addition, the ad alleges, "Sunday Ticket costs DirecTV one billion dollars a year and ends up being subsidized by other DirecTV customers whether they get the Sunday Ticket or not. Maybe that's why in the last three months of 2008, the average DirecTV customer paid about 15% a month more for TV than the average Dish Network customer."
In a statement, DirecTV spokesman Darris Gringeri said, "Desperate times call for desperate measures. Of course it's inaccurate, and why should anyone be surprised? This is just another in a long series of ridiculous claims from Dish."
In March, DirecTV announced a $4 billion, four-year extension with the National Football League to offer the Sunday Ticket out-of-market programming package.
Dish's ad claims that "we refuse to carry the NFL Sunday Ticket," without noting that the company didn't have a chance to refuse it.
The Dish ad is running in more than 90 newspapers nationwide, including the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Atlanta Constitution, Chicago Sun Times, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Indianapolis Star,Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, Minneapolis Star Tribune, San Antonio Express-News, San Francisco Chronicle, Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle and Denver Post.
Dish spokeswoman Francie Bauer said the ads will run at least through June and maybe longer.
The Dish ad includes a link to a Web site comparison between the satellite TV services, dishbeatsdirectv.com, which purports to show annual savings of between $84.12 and $192.00 with Dish depending on the level of service.