Orby TV, defunct satellite service, still owes millions to programmers

Orby TV
In February, Orby TV put a temporary hold on accepting new subscribers. By early March, the service had officially shut down for good. (Orby TV)

Orby TV, a satellite television service that shut down last month, still owes millions of dollars to programmers including AMC, Turner and ViacomCBS.

According to documents obtained by The Desk’s Matthew Keys, Orby TV declared bankruptcy with approximately $500,000 in cash on hand but more than $51 million in debt. The company said it still owes the General Electric Pension Trust about $11.57 million, ViacomCBS about $16.39 million, AMC Networks about $10.4 million and Turner Broadcasting exactly $4 million.

The company also said it owes varying amounts to A&E Networks, Best Buy, Crown Media, C-SPAN, Discovery Inc., Epix, HBO, Eutelsat, Starz and Target, along with an unknown amount to existing Orby TV subscribers. The company reportedly warned the court that its liability could increase if its customers opt to file claims against the service.

RELATED: Satellite TV service Orby stops accepting new customers

In February, Orby TV put a temporary hold on accepting new subscribers. By early March, the service had officially shut down for good.

“We are sorry to announce that Orby TV has closed its doors, and the Orby TV service has ended. It was an honor to serve you,” the company wrote in a letter to customers.

Orby TV directed its customers to Dish Network for a limited time offer allowing them to switch over to Dish for $100 and subscribe to a monthly Dish programming package for $52.99 (which includes a first receiver for free).

Orby TV launched in 2019 with pay TV service for the lower 48 states in the U.S. The company promised dozens of networks, free local channels, no credit checks or contractual commitments, and packages starting at just $40 per month. The service sold its hardware through Best Buy and select Target retail locations, with some independent dealers, and online.

According to the report, Orby TV started off with $4.8 million in gross revenue in 2019 but that business slowed dramatically in 2020. The company recorded just $13.7 million in gross revenue for the entire year.