Dish Continues to Lose Subscribers in the Wake of Cord Cutters

August 3, 2017, 3:16 PM UTC

Dish Network (DISH) on Thursday reported a quarterly profit that missed analysts’ estimates, but the company lost fewer subscribers than expected.

The company said it lost about 196,000 net pay-TV subscribers in the second quarter ended June 30. The number includes subscribers to both its satellite TV and Sling TV services.

The loss came in below analysts’ average expectation of 256,000 subscribers, according to financial data and analytics firm FactSet.

Net income attributable to Dish plunged 90% to $40 million or 9 cents per share in the quarter, hurt by litigation expenses, net of taxes, of $280 million.

Excluding one-time items, Dish earned 69 cents per share, missing analysts’ average estimate of 75 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Related: How Hulu’s CEO Wants to Transform Live Television

Dish, like other pay-TV providers, is facing stiff competition from video streaming services such as Netflix (NFLX), Hulu and HBO Live, as more viewers prefer to go online for their entertainment.

In 2015, Dish launched its own streaming service, Sling TV, to attract younger viewers, who are increasingly shifting away from traditional television services.

Dish has been buying up wireless airwaves, or spectrum, in recent years as its satellite business comes under pressure. In April, the company was the second-largest winner in a U.S. government auction of broadcast airwaves for wireless use.

Its spectrum portfolio has led industry analysts to speculate that it could tie up with U.S. wireless carriers such as Verizon Communications (VZ) or T-Mobile US (TMUS).

Following the spectrum auction, Dish Chief Executive Charlie Ergen said in May the company was open to options that would ultimately increase “shareholder value.” (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos and Ergen have discussed a partnership to enter the wireless business, the Wall Street Journal reported last month.

The aspirations of the two companies may be intersecting around connected devices, Citi analysts said in May, adding that Amazon could become a customer or investor.

Dish said second-quarter revenue dipped nearly 6% to $3.64 billion. Analysts on an average had expected $3.72 billion.

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