Dish It Up

Dear Dish Network,

As one of your faithful customers for the past five years, I thought I would take a few minutes and tell you how to run your business. I do watch a moderate amount of television, and therefore I feel qualified to give advice to a multi-billion dollar high-tech communications company.

First of all, you need to slowly move to an “a la carte” business model.  I would love to purchase the History International channel, but it is only available with a package that is two tiers above where I am at right now (which is an extra $30 a month).  It isn’t fair to me or the channels that I would really like to support financially.  And those 7 ESPN channels– well you can keep those.  I don’t have anything against sports programming, but I never watch them.  Same goes for all of the Spanish Channels.  No hablo Español.  Please credit my account.  I just want to be able to choose the channels I want and not be forced to pay for channels I never use.  Is that asking too much?  To start the conversion, you need to start rewarding quality programming by offering bonuses for the most recorded and viewed programming.  Eventually allow customers to customize exactly which channels they want.

As a side note on the “a la carte” issue, you should have a dedicated channel that gives previews of other channels for a week at a time.  Every now and then I hear about a “free Cinemax” weekend, but I forget to go into the channel selection, add Cinemax, and see if there is anything I want to watch.  If there was a channel that offered a week of FX, and then a week of HBO, and so on, I would keep it on my list of channels and be more likely to preview these channels.  A new channel to try out every week of the year!

I’ve got a kiddo on the way, and I would really like to see a better way to control what they watch.  How about letting customers set up “playlists” online that everyone can see and add to their DVRs?  Customers could then pick specific programs for their children, or supplement their choices for other people’s playlists that highlight age appropriate programming.  Netflix has a somewhat similar system for sharing information.  When the DVR is turned on a password would be required to see different playlists or live programming.  I know, it sounds complicated, but you guys can do it.  You got all those satellites into space– that couldn’t have been easy.  And remember– if you don’t do it someone else will on the Internet and bypass your network all together.

Let’s see– what else has been bugging my lately?  Oh yeah– I love my DVR and being able to record shows, but why not make it easier by taking note of what shows are being watched, and then just automatically start recording them in the future?  Kind of what Tivo has done with their recommendations, but this would be recording the shows that are otherwise getting watched on live tv.

Finally, can you make an option for listing channels sorted by popularity?  I watch about 5 channels 90% of the time– it would be nice to see all those on the top of the list followed by the less frequented channels.  You shouldn’t have too much trouble with that request.

That’s it– so if you end up using my ideas feel free to compensate me with a gift fruit basket, a singing telegram, or, if you can’t think of anything else– free cable is always an option!