By Ziv Israel
Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) officially began operations in March 1996 as the home satellite TV service of EchoStar (founded in 1980), founded by Charles Ergen. The company was spun off from EchoStar in January of 2008. Ergen, founder and head of the board, still owns 52% of all common stock. Today, Dish Network is the third-largest pay TV provider in the US, after Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV).
The pay TV market includes cable providers such as Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), Comcast and Cablevision, satellite providers such as DirecTV and Dish Network, and telecom providers such as AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) that offer fiber optic TV services. More than 90% of the TV households in the US subscribe to pay TV services. Dish is the second-largest satellite TV provider in the US after DirecTV.
Dish makes money by charging digital TV subscription fees to customers,