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EchoStar profit off

But sub count gives stock price a lift

NEW YORK — The nation’s No. 2 satcaster EchoStar, owner of the Dish network, reported that profits tumbled last quarter, but the stock jumped on a higher sub count and lower churn.

Net income fell to $140 million from $209 million, Charlie Ergen’s company said Tuesday, but noted the year-earlier period was inflated by a $73 million tax benefit.

Revenue rose 16% to $2.47.

EchoStar shares closed up 1.9% at $35.98.

It added 295,000 subscribers, ending the quarter with about 12.8 million subs. Monthly churn — or how many subs cancel service — was 1.76%. Both figures improved upon some Wall Streeters’ expectations.

On a cautionary note, EchoStar said its future results could be affected by two court battles, one over distant programming and the other regarding a TiVo patent.

Last month, a federal judge in Florida forbade EchoStar to offer its customers network programming from providers distant from them. EchoStar said Tuesday it would have to cut off distant network channels to about 900,000 subs unless the ruling is reversed.

And in August, a federal judge in Texas ordered EchoStar to pay TiVo about $90 million in a lawsuit alleging EchoStar and certain subsidiaries violated TiVo’s patent for storing and playing back TV programming. EchoStar has appealed that ruling.

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