It’s been, it’s fair to see, a tumultuous year for the Dish Network. In May, the company announced that it had lost over 400,000 video subscribers in the first quarter of 2020. The core Dish Network satellite product lost subscribers, but so did Sling TV, the company’s skinny-bundle subscription service.
Dish will announce its second quarter earnings later week, and with it, presumably, subscriber numbers for the second quarter of the year. But Dish is being criticized for something else- a push to bring employees back to the office in the time of coronavirus.
According to The Daily Beast, Dish and Sling TV “have charged ahead with office reopenings with no potential end to the pandemic in sight,” even though employees have raged against the plan, including on a recent virtual meeting. The Daily Beast also reported that employees were told that getting back to the office is necessary because “business has failed to meet its goals,” and that teams at the company are therefore being asked to work more closely together, in person.
At least two Dish employees, according to the report, have died of coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, while as many as 80 have tested positive for the virus. Dish, however, told employees that most of those affected have been remote employees. The company told The Daily Beast that the majority of its employees are continuing to work from home.
The meeting, a “readout” of which was obtained by the news outlet, employees based in Colorado and Utah railed against the reopening decision, calling it “bungled” and “cruel.” Dish did tell staffers, however, that it has taken precautions in the reopening offices.
Dish has indicated that would be amenable to a merger between its satellite business and longtime rival DirecTV, with which it has nearly merged more than once in the past. As part of a long-planned pivot, Dish took control of Boost Mobile on July 1, following the completion of the T-Mobile/Sprint merger. And Sling TV, also at the start of July, pledged to not raise subscription prices for a year.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.