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Sling TV Softens Dish Network Sub Losses

18 Feb, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Dish Network Feb. 18 said it lost 81,000 net pay-TV subscribers in 2015 compared with a loss of 79,000 net subs in 2014. It ended 2015 with approximately 13.897 million subs, compared with about 13.978 million at the end of 2014.The loss was offset in part by an undisclosed number of Sling TV sub additions.

The satellite TV operator hasn’t separated Sling TV subs from pay-TV subs since launching the industry’s first Internet-based “skinny bundle” TV service in February 2015. Sling TV is on track to have 2 million subscribers by the end of the year — nearly five times the estimated 350,000 subs generated at the end of Q3, Goldman Sachs analyst Brett Feldman wrote in a note in January.

Regardless, Dish posted a fourth-quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2015) net loss of $125 million, compared with income of $409 million during the previous-year period. Quarterly revenue increased 2% to $3.78 billion. Net income in 2015 was $747 million on revenue of $15.1 billion, compared with $945 million on $14.6 billion in 2014.

Dish attributed the quarterly loss in part to an “FCC auction expense” of $516 million, an impairment charge for the D1 satellite, and related ground equipment of $123 million.

The company added about 46,000 net broadband subscribers in 2015, bringing its total broadband sub base to approximately 623,000, compared with 577,000 at the close of 2014. Average revenue per user (subscriber) increased 3.6% to $86.79 versus $83.77 in 2014.

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