You Can't Polish A "Turd Bird"

from the fly,-dernit dept

Rupert Murdoch has apparently called DirecTV a “turd bird” (via Broadband Reports and is looking to sell News Corp.’s stake in it to Liberty Media. The epithet and interest in selling was apparently down to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin’s comments that the Commission wouldn’t look favorably at a merger between DirecTV and Echostar, its smaller rival which runs Dish Network. Back in 2002, the FCC shot down a previous merger attempt, and apparently Martin still thinks such a deal would be anti-competitive. This wouldn’t be the first time Martin has been confused about competition, but it’s no less puzzling. A combined DirecTV-Echostar would presumably be a stronger company than two independent ones — and better placed to compete with cable TV companies, not to mention the new TV services from telcos. How is that anti-competitive? Leaving DirecTV and Echostar struggling on their own and unable to develop a broadband plan is the threat to consumers and competition. Does anti-competitive mean that the combined entity would be able to compete too well against Martin’s incumbent friends?

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “You Can't Polish A "Turd Bird"”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Glo says:

God save us from a combined DirecTV and Echostar

The subject line pretty much sums it up.

For those of us who live in rural environments where there is no Cable TV, no DSL from the phone company, where even dial-up connects at 26.4kbs, at best, the thought of only one satellite provider is a terrible prospect. My DishNetwork bill is exhorbitant as it is. Were the two companies combined there would be zero constraint on prices. I can only imagine what it would cost.

Now, as to why the good commissioner likes telco and cable company monopolies and not satellite monopolies, I would imagine it reduces to how much the telco/cable cartel has paid him, or will pay him after he leaves office. … I could be wrong, but I think not.

Mike J says:

Re: God save us from a combined DirecTV and Echost

WHAT, that comment of yours is EXTREMELY nieve however its spelled. You have never had the joy of paying a $100 cabel friggin bill you want expensive jack, get comcast then you will cry beg and pleed for a combined dish company to come rescue you.

Last I heard dish network was still rather close to $25 a month so unless your some sports nut or watch 30 PPV movies a month then dont give me that exorbient pricing crap from the dish companies, unless they charge your arse more for living in some backwoods craphole instead of living in a city.

I am just very bitter and hatful of cable and when someone says their competitor is too expensive then I have to defend the glory of dishes.

I must add that I live in a NORTH facing apartment so NO I cant just switch if Im so pisssed at the service I have, there is NO competition for comcast for north facing apartments here.

rant off, bitterness fading, food digesting, blood sugar levels returning to normal.

ehrichweiss says:

Re: Re: $100 Cable bill!?!?! God save us from a co

You have a $100 cable bill? The question might be what are YOU watching cause the last I recall basic cable rates are right in line with satellite pricing. Are you maybe including your cable-modem bill with that as well? Besides, it’s just TV, are you that addicted that you *have* to pay $100/mo?

The problem with satellite companies is that they do not have to provide any service to your box(you pay for it and you are responsible for it), and seeing as how cable companies can justify charging the same amount since they have line maintenance to do, satellite providers don’t have that issue since they use the airwaves and equipment that you bought, yet we have yet to see the pricing go down with an increase in subscribers. One could argue that they have to pay for those “birds” that relay the signal but they’ve already been paid for 10 fold at this point.

Dennis says:

Re: Re: Re: $100 Cable bill!?!?! God save us from

Down in the valley of southern texas, a 100 cable bill is considered a high commitity…. Thank God for Dish Network… granted have everything there is to get (call me a TV aholic)..but my cable bill was 215 a month and now with Dish Network my bill is less than 90 a month and I have EVERYthing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! as far at direct and dish getting together….. come on boys (and girls)..lets be realistic… that would be like jc pennys and sears going forces………never gonna happen…….. for all kinds of reasons……

Benji says:

Re: Don't Even Bring Up Powell

Rely on? Hell, I live in the city and I haven’t had TV for almost 6 months now…can’t afford cable and the broadcast TV these days sucks. I just watch movies now…why don’t they do the same? It’s not like there’s anything essential on TV. News? I’ve seen gossip columns that are more accurate in their reporting than CNN. It’s all just a bunch of hooplah…but I still pay for internet…what can I say, I’m an addict and a hippo-crite.

Axi0n says:

Lower prices???

Since when does anything combined, re-invented, new and improved, or even combined and diminished ever equate to lower prices or better service???

It has always been supply and demand… If they can get more money while themselves paying less for broadcast content / rights or lower quality content then of course thats what they will do…

They know their market now is in the rurals… Doesn’t make sense to go async broadband via sat, nor do many people in urban areas have the right, desire or even line of sight to the birds…

So the country bumpkin who is perpetually forsaken will once again take it up the tailpipe and be forced to pay more for less because it is essentially their only option…

Sad really… I know.. Bermuda’s report is out and we have essentially 3% broadband penetration… Its like $70 us for 256k DSL + $99 to the monopoly telco to carry the signal… The pipes are there but bandwidth is almost as tight as DeBoer’s artificially manipulated diamond supply…

Peter R says:

Proposed merger

Anyone who thinks allowing the demise of competition in satellite TV does not remember how much better the level of service was before Primestar was “acquired”.

A handful of mega-conglomerates own and operate our media and that does not serve the interests of democracy.

We can easily see the deleterious effects that mergers and acquisitions have had on our broadcast TV (owned and operated by a handful of mega-corps that pander to the far right , especially news content (which now serves as nothing but a propaganda outlet for “big brother”), and continuing to allow consolidation of TV distribution in any further way will only exacerbate that,

Boris says:


There is one reason I stay away from cable: Charter Communications (and I suppose its sister company Comcast – although I dont have any first-hand experience with them). They have a monopoly on digital/basic/any kind of cable (and for a while, any kind of broadband internet as well) service. Sure they [say they] charge a rate comparable to satellite but with more features… just wait a couple months later and they start making little mistakes and monthly additions that slowly jack your bill up. You call to complain, they stop – month or two later they start it all up again. This has happened to me with both their basic cable service back in the day and their cable broadband more recently.

I love my DishNetwork, I know other who prefer DirecTV. I know that the rate has stayed rather consistent, we pay just around 50 bucks/month IIRC for the ultra-super-mega package with Sirius and a number of premium channels.

As for my internet, the 3mb cable which went from 39.99 a month but ended up closer to the 70s by the time I was done with it, doesn’t have anything on the 17.99 I’m paying for 3mb DSL which has often delivered me a ping so low (below 10ms) in Counter-Strike:Source that people think I hack/am the server.

Competition is good, keep the seperate, why would I want them to have more power anyway?

chris carmichael says:

Direct TV vs. Local Cable

I have been a DirecTv customer for over 7-years. This year I priced DTV’s service with Cox Communications. DTV came out ahead by $30 on TV. I have two Tivo units (and one on reserve) for the service. ZIP: 92056
DirecTV is $58 including local channels and DVR service
Cox: $78 plus DVR rental fee.

I also believe a DirecTV and Echostar marriage would increase prices.

so far, happy with service; and I do not use their customer service (obviously by the comments).

larryk says:

Definitely an anti-competitive merger

I live in the boondocks where there is no cable for TV, and our one-horse telephone company got low-speed DSL out here about a year ago. My only options for television are DirectTV and Dish Network.

I used to have Direct TV. Murdoch is right – it is a turdbird. Dish is much better, and I think their prices are reasonable. At least Dish and Direct have to compete with each other. Thinking that their merger would help consumers seems 100% wrong to me, just as wrong as letting Southwestern Bell put all the pieces of old AT&T back together.

Jon says:

Not just for in the boondocks

I live in the suburbs and we have many options and we choose Dish network for the best combo of content/price. Comcast would take you to the bank for the amount of channels we get everymonth (not to mention we have one of those early gen pvrs that isn’t all high steppin about how we can use our content and for how long) Dish is good. Comcast blows.

Anonymous Coward says:

I am getting a better price through my cable co. in NC on Charter, rather than Dish, because of a better introductory program. Having said that,,,,I don’t agree w/ how cable or satelite offer thier pkgs. Why do I have to buy channels I’ll never watch! Like the golf channel. Watching paint dry is just as exciting. I mean when you go to a restaraunt do you HAVE to buy cauliflower when all you want is a cheeseburger and fries? Why can’t they offer smaller pkgs w/ more options?

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...