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Dish Profits Up Despite Sub Losses of 194,000

Dish reported higher fourth-quarter earnings despite a continuing decline in subscribers.

The company said it ended the quarter with 11.99 million pay-TV subscribers, down 194,000. A year ago, the company lost 334,000 subscribers.

It’s customers included 9.394 million Dish TV subscribers, down 100,000, and 4.259 million Sling TV subscribers, down 94,000.

Analyst Steven Cahall of Wells Fargo Securities, noted that this appeared to be the first time Sling has lost subscribers.

Dish is the last large MVPD to report its quarterly results and cord cutting continues. Cahall estimates that total pay TV subscribers were down 5% year over year in 2019.

Dish’s fourth quarter net income rose to $389 million, or 69 cents a share, from $337 million, or 64 cents a share, a year ago.

Revenue fell to $3.24 billion from $3.31 billion a year ago.

Kutgun Maral, analyst at RBC Capital Markets, called the results strong, coming in ahead of expectations.

“Investor focus remains centered on Dish’s ambitions on becoming a national facilities-based wireless carrier, and we look for further clarity on Dish’s buildout plans and potential partnerships,” Maral said. “In the meantime, it is worth noting that Dish’s satellite video subscriber declines have decelerated from 10.2% in 2018 and 7.7% in 3Q 2019 to now 5.2% year over year-- the lowest rate of decline in about 15 quarters going back to 2016."