Dish Network's Subscriber Losses Accelerate

Dow Jones Newswires

Dish Network said Monday that its pay-TV subscriber losses accelerated in the third quarter, although its profit topped Wall Street expectations. Dish said it lost 23,000 net pay-TV subscribers in the quarter, compared with a loss of 12,000 a year earlier. In the prior quarter of this year, Dish shed about 81,000 net pay-TV subscribers. For the past few quarters, Dish has suffered from its programming contract disputes with Time Warner Inc.'s Turner networks and 21st Century Fox's Fox News. Meanwhile, the company has focused on acquiring high-quality video customers with better credit scores, who are willing to pay more for better products and are less likely to disconnect. Still, in the wider industry, the rush of cord-cutting seen in the second quarter seemed to slow in the latest three-month period. Aside from Dish, with about 70% of pay-TV customers accounted for, the industry has lost only about 67,000 subscribers on a net basis. That compares with a net loss of nearly 400,000 for those same companies and roughly 566,000 for the industry in the second quarter, according to MoffettNathanson. At the end of the third quarter, Dish's pay-TV service had 13.909 million subscribers, down about 1% from 14.041 million a year earlier. Average monthly revenue per subscriber rose to $86.33 from $84.39 a year earlier. Its churn rate, or the rate at which subscribers canceled service, grew to 1.86% from 1.67% a year ago. Overall, the company posted a profit of $196 million, or 42 cents a share, up from $146 million or 31 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue inched up 1.4% to $3.73 billion. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters forecast per-share earnings at 39 cents a share on revenue of $3.79 billion. Write to Ezequiel Minaya at ezequiel.minaya@wsj.com

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