Note to executives for media companies about to engage Dish Network in carriage negotiations: When listening to Dish Chairman and CEO Charlie Ergen, brace yourself.
Viacom President and CEO Philippe Dauman and his team are probably well aware of this as they get set to hunker down with Dish on a new wide-reaching carriage agreement. Still, they received a reminder from Ergen during Dish's third-quarter earnings call Monday.
"Viacom has been a long-term partner, so it'd take a lot for us not to do a deal with them," Ergen said. "But they have to be realistic that their ratings have deteriorated over the last three years or four years, in some cases in a material way. And if the world has changed somewhat, and to the extent that we are given a fair deal [and] there's a reality embedded in that deal, I think we'll get a deal done with them."
Ergen added, "My challenge to our team is to look for every reason that you can do a deal with Viacom. Internally, we're not looking at the alternative of not doing a deal with them. It's just that we know what your measurement is; we know within our consumer base, what people watch and place a value on. We know there's alternatives for their product today that weren't there three years ago or four years ago. You can get kids programming on YouTube and Netflix and it's quite good, and some of it's even Viacom product."
You can examine all of Ergen's third-quarter earnings comments on this Seeking Alpha transcript.