Dish Network RIP? Another 133,000 Subscribers Quit Last Quarter
The cord cutting across American cable continues to gain steam.
Dish Network, in fourth quarter earnings announced Monday, announced another drop in subscribers, losing a net 133,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter. The company had lost 194,000 subscribers in the same quarter the year before.
As of the end of the quarter, Dish had 11.29 million pay-TV subscribers, of which 8.82 million were Dish TV subscribers and 2.47 million were Sling TV subscribers. At the end of the third quarter, Dish had 11.42 million subscribers and Sling had 2.46 million, indicating that Dish lost many subscribers in the fourth quarter while Sling added a small number.
Dish had added 116,000 subscribers, most of them on Sling TV, in the third quarter. The company also said that its retail wireless net subscribers decreased by about 363,000 in the fourth quarter, after they lost 212,000 in the previous quarter.
There was better news for the company in terms of profit, as the company reported net income of $733 million in the fourth quarter, compared with $389 million in the fourth quarter the year before.
The company beat analyst expectations for the quarter, posting revenue of $4.6 billion in the quarter, per Deadline.
In December, Dish announced a price increase for its main plans on the Dish TV service, by $5 each. The company also announced a $5 price increase on the main Sling plans, although only for new customers, although in keeping with the company’s pledge last summer to not raise prices on existing customers for a year, Sling did not raise prices for existing customers.
Also in the quarter, Dish settled a weeks-long dispute with Nexstar that blacked out channels in 160 markets, for the largest blackout of its kind in history.
The company has been pivoting towards the 5G business, having acquired Boost Mobile last year for $1.4 billion. Dish has also long claimed that an eventual merger with satellite rival DirecTV was inevitable, but Dish does not appear to be a factor in negotiations AT&T has been having talks with various parties about acquiring a large stake in that satellite service.
“Our Pay-TV business strategy is to be the best provider of video services in the United States by providing products with the best technology, outstanding customer service, and great value,” the company said in its 10K report, also released Monday. “We promote our Pay-TV services as providing our subscribers with a better ‘price-to-value’ relationship than those available from other subscription television service providers.”
“We have historically been viewed as the low-cost provider in the pay-TV industry in the United States. With our DISH TV services, we are currently focused on our brand promise ‘Tuned into You’ and a message of Service, Value and Technology. For example, for certain new and qualifying customers we guarantee our pricing for certain programming packages and equipment for a two-year commitment period.”
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.