Dish Network profits jump despite 133,000 lost subscribers

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Dish Network, the satellite-TV company led by chairman Charlie Ergen, posted an 88 percent jump in quarterly profit even as it lost subscribers.

Dish said Monday it continued to hemorrhage pay-TV subscribers during the fourth quarter at a slightly slower clip, shedding 133,00 subscribers compared with a loss of 194,000 in the year-ago period.

Bernstein analyst Peter Supino attributed the improved results to the fact that fewer customers are “switching” their services during the pandemic, as well as an increase in prices.

The declines came from the company’s Dish pay-TV service, which lost 149,000 subscribers. That was offset by a 16,000-subscriber gain at the company’s live TV streaming service, SlingTV.

The company ended the period with just over 11 million subscribers, including nearly 9 million Dish subscribers and over 2 million Sling customers.

Dish Network shares on Monday recently slipped 0.4 percent to $33.54.

Overall, fourth-quarter profit reached $733 million, or $1.24 a share compared with $389 million, or 69 cents in the year-ago quarter. Revenue grew 41 percent to $4.56 billion compared with the $3.24 billion, a year earlier.

Dish said its average revenue per customer increased to $94.47 in the quarter versus $87.02 a year ago.

Looking ahead, Dish chief executive Erik Carlson touted Dish’s new multiyear carriage deal with TV station giant Nexstar Media Group, which covered local stations and the WGN America network.

He also nodded to Dish’s push last year into the retail wireless market through the $1.4 billion acquisition of Boost Mobile.

“This marks an important milestone in Dish’s evolution as a connectivity company,” Carlson said. “It positions us well as we continue to build out the first virtualized, standalone 5G network in America.”

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