Dish Network’s net video subscriber losses swelled to 413,000 as the coronavirus pandemic took a severe toll on the satellite provider’s business.
The total includes a net loss of approximately 132,000 Dish TV satellite subscribers and a net loss of approximately 281,000 Sling TV subscribers. The company said it closed out March with 11.32 million pay TV subscribers, including 9.01 million Dish TV subscribers and 2.31 million Sling TV subscribers.
Dish’s overall subscriber totals also reflect the removal of approximately 250,000 subscribers from commercial accounts whose businesses have been impacted by COVID-19.
“In an effort to avoid charging commercial customers for services that were no longer being viewed by their customers, Dish paused service or provided temporary rate relief for certain of those commercial accounts,” the company said in a news release, adding that it expects some of those accounts to disconnect.
The company said it does not expect to incur significant expenses from the reactivation of any returning commercial accounts, which it said will not be counted as gross new subscriber additions in the period of their return.
Dish said that in the second half of March, COVID-19 and the related governmental recommendations and mandates created reduced in person selling opportunities, and a reduction in customers’ willingness to open direct mail marketing and allow in-home technicians into their homes. As a result, the company reduced its marketing expenditures and its gross new Dish TV subscribers began to decrease.
Despite that, Dish said it activated approximately 299,000 gross new Dish TV subscribers, up 23% from 243,000 one year ago. The company’s churn rate also declined from 1.74% last year to 1.54%.
Dish’s first-quarter revenues totaled $3.217 billion while net income attributable to Dish Network totaled $73 million for the first quarter 2020, compared to $340 million from the year-ago quarter.