Satcaster Echostar and Philips Consumer Electronics have clinched a distribution deal with discount retailer Target that promises to give a major boost to the brand-name recognition of Echostar’s Dish Network satellite TV service.
The deal calls for Philips-manufactured Dish Network satellite dishes to be displayed in all 881 Target stores nationwide. Having an outpost in the heavily trafficked all-purpose retailer should provide further spark to Dish Network sales, which have already grown at a fast clip over the past year.
The deal seemed to grab Wall Street’s attention, as Echostar’s stock price climbed $8.09, or nearly 11%, to close Tuesday at $83.63. Echostar’s shares have been on the upswing all year, from a 52-week low of $8.50 last October, on the strength of efforts in Washington to overhaul arcane satellite TV regulations in ways that are sure to benefit the Colorado-based Echostar. Among the two primary U.S. satcasters, Echostar is the smaller outfit with about 2.7 million subscribers, compared with nearly 7 million for market leader DirecTV.
Echostar had relied primarily on print and radio advertising to hawk its wares as a lower-cost alternative to DirecTV, but it moved into the retail chain store arena in late 1997 in a pact with Sears. Echostar also has a presence in warehouse membership stores like Price Club, Costco and Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Club outlets.