Advanced Television

DISH Network loses 552k subs

May 9, 2023

By Chris Forrester

Pay-TV operator DISH Network has suffered a major fall in subscribers according to its Q1 financials. Dish TV and its OTT sister service Sling TV, lost an overall 552,000 subscribers during the first quarter of the year.

The same period in 2022 saw losses of 462,000 net subscribers (and 268,000 in Q4/2022). The Charlie Ergen-backed business now has a total subscriber count of 9.19 million, with DISH Network itself having 7.09 million, about half of its subscriber count ten years ago. Sling TV is responsible for 2.1 million subs (and down 230,000 on the Q4/2022 position).

Ergen is building out a 5G cellular telephony service (Boost Mobile) over much of the US.

Overall net income for DISH Network for Q1 was $223 million (€203m), down from $433 million in the same period a year ago. Total revenue of $3.95 billion was down from $4.33 billion in Q1/2022.

Analysts at MoffettNathanson commented, saying: “Losses were bad – the company missed on most key metrics,” wrote the researchers. “The decline in the satellite TV business accelerated sharply, with the company losing 318K subscribers,” explained Moffett, adding the results were significantly worse than losses a year ago and the 214,000 anticipated by analyst consensus. The firm said it means DISH’s core satellite TV business is contracting at an annual rate of 11.2 per cent.

Also worrying is DISH Network’s all-important Churn rate, which hit 1.98 per cent (per month).

EchoStar, the other key sister-business to DISH, which looks after DISH’s satellite fleet as well as the Hughes Network Systems broadband by satellite system, also reported its Q1 numbers – and falls across most of its activities.

EchoStar’s consolidated revenue decreased 12.3 per cent or $61.9 million y-o-y. The decrease was driven by lower service revenues of $41.3 million partially due to fewer broadband customers. Equipment sales decreased $20.7 million, primarily due to lower sales to both domestic and international enterprise customers.

Net income decreased $61.1 million y-o-y. “The decrease was due to lower operating income of $16.8 million and an unfavorable change in investments of $87.8 million due to $80.7 million of gains that occurred in 2022. These items were partially offset by a favorable change in interest income of $22.2 million and lower net income tax expense of $21.3 million,” said EchoStar.

Hughes broadband subscribers totalled approximately 1,177,000, declining 51,000 from December 31st, 2022. “Our current capacity limitations, increasing bandwidth usage by approximately 15 per cent y-o-y on average by our existing US subscribers, and competitive pressures are impacting our consumer subscriber levels. In Latin America, subscriber levels were tempered by our focus on more profitable consumer segments and by our allocation of capacity to enterprise opportunities,” said the financial statement.

The EchoStar/Hughes new JUPITER 3/EchoStar XXIV satellite is currently expected to be shipped to the launch site in June and subsequently launched at the first window that SpaceX can allocate to it, which is subject to pre-emption by certain higher-priority government launches, said the company.

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