[Satellite TODAY Insider 07-20-12] Satellite pay-TV operator Dish Network
drastically cut its second quarter net subscriber losses in 2012 compared with the same period last year, according to a regulatory document the company filed July 19 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
Dish Network said it lost approximately 10,000 net subscribers in its second quarter — less than a tenth of the 135,000 it had lost in its 2011 fiscal second quarter. Dish Network also reported 665,000 gross new subscribers, but acknowledged that it wouldn’t report full quarterly results until August.
The regulatory filing was tied to an announcement that its subsidiary, DISH DBS Corporation, planned to commence an offering of its senior debt, which is subject to market and other conditions. The net proceeds of that offering, according to Dish, are to be used for general corporate purposes.
Dish Network’s report was much stronger than industry analysts expected from the pay-TV operator. Wells Fargo Analyst Marci Ryvicker projected Dish Network to report gross subscriber additions of 577,000 and a net subscriber decline of 119,000.
“We feel that [Dish Network’s] much better-than-expected sub numbers
should ease investor fears about Dish's core business, which many were nervous about heading into earnings. We reiterate our ‘outperform’ rating on the company's stock,” Ryvicker said in a research note.
Canaccord Genuity Analyst Tom Eagan echoed Ryvicker’s sentiment. His firm expected Dish Network to lose 87,000 net subscribers in the 2012 second-quarter, with only a slight improvement from its standing one year ago.
“The improving customer results appear to confirm that the company continues to turn around its pay-TV operations,” Eagan said in a report issued July 19. “After shedding about 250,000 customers in the second and third quarters of last year, [Dish Network] has been consistently topping analysts estimates for subscriber growth.”
Dish Network ended its 2012 first quarter with 14.1 million subscribers and has trimmed its subscriber losses during the past few fiscal quarters. It’s average monthly churn, however, increased from 1.35 percent in the first quarter of this year to 1.6 percent, according to the SEC filing.