No, there does not appear to be this strange, unseen, counterintuitive demand for linear satellite television in rural markets.
Startup Orby TV, which was launched by former Starz CRO Michael Thornton and ex Disney executive Tres Izzard in September 2019 to ostensibly tap into a sizable craving for reliable linear pay TV service in hard-to-reach regions of the U.S., is calling it quits.
Here’s the letter posted on the company’s website today:
Dear Orby TV Customer,
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.
To provide you with an affordable satellite TV option going forward, we have coordinated with DISH on a special offer for Orby TV customers. This includes a monthly DISH programming package for $52.99 (includes first receiver) and cost to switch as low as $100. For more information about this limited time offer, please call DISH at 844-268-3304 and mention the offer code ORBY or visit dish.com/orby.
Headquartered out of Burbank, Calif., Orby TV let users configure up to four rooms with CPE they buy themselves. The Orby TV satellite receiver and remote cost $100, or $200 for one with a DVR. The company is offering installation of the the satellite dish, as well as the TV antenna, and wiring and set-up of one receiver/DVR, for $150. Each additional room costs $50.
It’s unclear as to how many subscribers Orby amassed in just over 16 months of operation. Certainly, the larger, publicly traded satellite companies have taken it on the chin. Dish Network lost another 578,000 satellite TV customers in 2020, its customer base now stands at just over 8.8 million, and the company is rapidly pivoting to the consumer wireless business.
AT&T just entered an agreement with private equity firm TPG to spin off DirecTV, valuing the operation at just over $15 billion after paying nearly $49 billion for it six years ago.