Cable television revolutionized entertainment in the 1950s and 60s, delivering television directly to users via a dedicated cable rather than relying on weak broadcast service, resulting in better quality and access to far more content. Then, in the 1980s and 90s, satellite television technology took it a step further, beaming content directly to viewers via satellite, expanding the service footprint that cable cannot reach. Founded in 1996, Dish Network (DISH) is today one of the largest direct-broadcast satellite providers in the U.S., also offering over-the-top service via its subsidiary Sling TV. 

The company got its start in 1980 as EchoStar Communications Corporation, which distributed satellite television equipment, and didn’t get into satellite service until 1995 when it launched its first satellite, EchoStar I. As of 2018, Dish Network had roughly 17,000 employees and roughly 9.9 million customers. Its revenue for the most recent year were $13.6 billion.

Rationale

The most direct way to gain exposure to Dish Network is to buy its listed shares, of course, but there are reasons for investors to reconsider that approach. Like many companies in the television services business, DISH is currently losing customers at a rapid pace due to the ongoing cord-cutting trend, which is seeing subscribers cancel their pay-TV subscriptions in favor of direct and internet streaming entertainment options. Dish in particular lost 381,000 subscribers in Q4 2018, and more than five million in total since 2014.

However, for investors interested in gaining exposure to the television sector, rather than buying DISH shares themselves should consider buying funds that provide exposure to Dish Network and other communications firms like AT&T’s DirecTV and cable providers. After all, the return drivers that will benefit DISH might also benefit other similar companies. As investment management is gradually moving to the construction of portfolios using ETFs and mutual funds in addition to single stocks, investors would do well to consider gain exposure to firms like Dish Network through these types of funds.

Investing in DISH

A search on Magnifi suggests that investors can gain access to Dish Network via a number of different funds and ETFs, including those shown below. 

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