EchoStar’s net loss doubles

Costs soar for marketing, signing new subscribers

NEW YORK — EchoStar Communications Corp.’s net loss before one-time charges doubled to $103 million in the first quarter on 44% higher revenue of $309 million, it said Monday, as costs of marketing and signing new subscribers skyrocketed.

A one-time charge of $269 million for early repayment of debt sent the bottom line loss to $372 million, said EchoStar, which operates the Dish Network satellite TV service.

The satcaster said it added 325,000 net subscribers in the first quarter, double the growth it experienced in the same period a year earlier. EchoStar signed another 110,000 new customers in April, taking its total subscriber base to 2.37 million.

But the satcaster is signing the new customers with cut-priced programming and hardware offers. Subscriber-related expenses almost doubled to $110 million while marketing expenses almost trebled to $139 million in the quarter.

The biggest increase in marketing was “subscriber promotion subsidies,” which increased 195% to $127.6 million, EchoStar said.

Total costs rose 55% to $365 million, more than doubling EchoStar’s operating loss (before interest and taxes) to $55.6 million. EchoStar stock fell $1.50 to $102 Monday.