Dish Network propped up its video subscriber numbers during the third quarter with a substantial gain at Sling TV, its streaming TV service that had previously seen its growth stall.
The company added approximately 148,000 net pay TV subscribers during the quarter as a loss of 66,000 Dish TV satellite subscribers was offset by the addition of approximately 214,000 net Sling TV subscribers.
That’s compared to a net video subscriber loss of approximately 341,000 during the year-ago quarter; and the previous quarter when Dish lost 79,000 satellite subscribers and added 48,000 Sling TV subscribers, equaling a net pay TV subscriber loss of approximately 31,000 subscribers.
The company closed the third quarter with 12.18 million total pay TV subscribers, including 9.49 million satellite subscribers and 2.69 million Sling TV subscribers.
As that mix shifts more toward lower cost Sling TV subscribers, Dish’s revenues have been declining. In the third quarter, the company posted revenue totaling $3.17 billion, down from $3.4 billion one year ago. Net income attributable to Dish Network totaled $353 million, down from $432 million in the year-ago quarter.
Dish attributed its declining revenues in part to cord cutting.
“In particular, consumers have shown increased interest in viewing certain video programming in any place, at any time and/or on any broadband-connected device they choose,” wrote Dish in an SEC filing. “Online content providers may cause our subscribers to disconnect our Dish TV services (“cord cutting”), downgrade to smaller, less expensive programming packages (“cord shaving”) or elect to purchase through these online content providers a certain portion of the services that they would have historically purchased from us, such as pay per view movies, resulting in less revenue to us.”
Dish Network’s pay TV average revenue per user totaled $85.29 during the quarter, down from $86.34 in the previous quarter. With gross new Dish TV subscriber activations of approximately 416,000, the company said its customer churn rate reached 1.69%, significantly higher than the 1.48% posted in the previous quarter.