Dish Network Loses 552,000 Subscribers, Earnings Plunge to $233 Million

A Dish technician standing outside a company van.
(Image credit: Dish)

Dish Network’s first-quarter earnings dropped as it lost more subscribers, both on its satellite service and its Sling TV streaming service.

Analysts attributed some of the poor performance in part to a cyberattack that delayed the processing of payments and stalled customer service.

Dish finished the quarter with 9.198 million pay TV subscribers, down 552,000 from the end of year and down more than 1 million from a year ago. 

The company lost 318,000 satellite subscribers, finishing the quarter with 7.098 million customers. That’s down 895,000 from a year ago.

Dish’s Sling TV streaming service lost 10% of its subscribers, finishing the quarter with 2.1 million. A year ago Sling had 2.252 million subscribers.

In the quarter, Dish’s net income fell 48% to $223 million, or 35 cents a share, from $433 million, or 68 cents a share.

Revenue fell 9% to $3.96 billion.

Dish also finished the quarter with 7.91 million wireless subscribers, down 81,000.

“How much we can read into the rates of decline posted in a quarter this out of the ordinary isn’t entirely clear,“ MoffettNathanson principal and senior analyst Craig Moffett said. “But it is beyond argument that the customers lost in the first quarter won’t be back. Trajectory aside, these declines are permanent.

"It is unclear whether this result would have been even worse had the company been fully able to process service-termination requests,“ Moffett said. “And it is therefore unclear whether results in Q2 will be similarly bad or even worse. The company only indicated that cybersecurity costs were fully behind them, and that all systems have been restored.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.