Dish subs up, but profits tumble

Colorado-based satellite broadcaster Dish Network added a very healthy 104,000 net subscribers (its best quarterly growth for 2 years) during the quarter (to March 31s but net income fell 34 per cent, and Wall Street was not happy with the financials. Dish Network’s stock fell back 4 per cent ($1.25) on May 7.

Subscribers now total 14.1 million. Net income in the January-March quarter was $360.3 million, down from $549.4 million a year ago. Revenue rose 11 percent to $3.58 billion from $3.22 billion. Churn was also better, and at a record low, at 1.35 per cent (per month).

“Dish delivered a solid quarter for net subscriber growth and financial performance,” said CEO Joseph Clayton, in a statement “I am encouraged by two quarters of net additions, as well as a reduction in churn. The market’s reception to the Hopper launch this March was favorable and we think it will be a great platform for the future.”

Dish Network’s chairman is Charlie Ergen, currently embroiled in a legal dispute with AMC Networks. During a conference call he warned programming suppliers that they risked devaluing the shows by striking too many deals with digital outlets such as iTunes, Amazon and other OTT suppliers such as Netflix.

“Programmers have devalued their programming by making it available on multiple outlets,” said Ergen. “We believe the product had been devalued because you can get it multiple ways. It is not quite the same as if it was exclusive.”

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