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DISH Reports Decline in Revenue & Subscribers in Q4

By | February 19, 2020
Dish antenna

A Dish antenna. Photo: Dave L (Flickr)

DISH Network Corporation reported its Fourth Quarter (Q4) 2019 revenue totaled $3.24 billion, a decrease of 2.1% from the $3.31 billion in revenue for 2018 Q4. Net income attributable to DISH Network totaled $389 million for Q4 2019, compared to $337 million in Q4 2018.

The company closed the fourth quarter with 11.99 million Pay-TV subscribers, including 9.40 million DISH TV subscribers and 2.59 million Sling TV subscribers. Net Pay-TV subscribers decreased by approximately 194,000 in the fourth quarter, less than the net decrease of 334,000 in the same time period in 2018. This decrease in Net Pay-TV subscribers came after the company reported an increase of approximately 148,000 subscribers in Q3. The company also shed 94,000 customers on its streaming service Sling TV in Q4 — the first time the service lost customers. But for 2019 overall, Sling TV ended with 175,000 more customers than 2018. In a call with investors on Wednesday, CFO Paul Orban attributed the Sling TV subscribers loss in Q4 to competition, and the end of football season. 

For the year, DISH reported 2019 total revenue of $12.81 billion, compared to $13.62 billion in 2018. Net income attributable to DISH Network in 2019 was $1.40 billion, compared to $1.58 billion in 2018. Diluted earnings per share were $2.60 in 2019, compared to $3.00 in 2018.

CEO Erik Carlson acknowledged DISH Network lost 334,000 subscribers over 2019, but said he was “pleased” with the subscriber base.

“It’s not quite an apples-to-apples comparison [to 2018], Carlson said. “We’re facing a different set of program challenges last year than we are now. That said, I do believe that this past quarter’s results reveal our continued focus in operation discipline in regards to acquisition and retention.”

Orban said DISH is able to fund its upcoming 5G wireless initiatives with cash on hand, and is expects to spend about $250 million- $500 million on wireless in 2020.

In July 2019, Dish entered the network as a fourth wireless carrier, and committed to the FCC that the company will deploy a facilities-based 5G broadband network capable of serving 70% of the U.S. population by June 2023. Following completion of the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, which a judge further validated earlier this month, Dish is set to acquire Sprint’s prepaid businesses and customers, including Boost Mobile, and the Sprint-branded prepaid service; 14MHz of Sprint’s nationwide 800 MHz spectrum; and access the new T-Mobile network for seven years, including the ability to serve Dish customers between T-Mobile’s nationwide network and Dish’s new independent 5G broadband network.