Dish Network shed 12,000 video customers during the third quarter of 2014 — whereas analysts had expected a modest net gain — and the No. 2 satellite TV broadcaster posted earnings below Wall Street projections.
Dish had 14.041 million pay-TV subscribers at the end of September, essentially flat compared with 14.049 million a year earlier. The satcaster added about 28,000 net satellite-broadband subs (lower than its 75,000 net broadband adds in Q3 2013) to bring total broadband subscribers to approximately 553,000.
Over all, Dish reported revenue of $3.68 billion for the quarter (up 4.8% year over year) and net income of $146 million, or 31 cents per share (down from net income of $315 million and 68 cents per share in the year-ago quarter). Analysts had expected revenue of $3.69 billion and EPS of 39 cents for the third quarter of 2014, per Thomson Reuters.
One factor that likely contributed to Dish’s Q3 net TV subscriber loss: The DBS provider on Aug. 6 dropped Comcast SportsNet New England, home to the Boston Celtics, claiming the regional sports net was seeking a double-digit rate increase.
Meanwhile, Dish is currently in a contract dispute with Turner Broadcasting. The satcaster’s subs lost CNN, Cartoon Network and six other Turner nets on Oct. 21, which remain off the lineup. Dish’s agreement with CBS is set to expire later this month, and the two sides are said to be far apart on reaching a renewal; if CBS-owned local stations and Showtime go dark on Dish, it’s likely to prompt a wave of defections (as Time Warner Cable experienced in its showdown with the Eye last year).
Pay-TV average revenue per customer for Q3 totaled $84.39, compared with $80.98 in the year-earlier period. The TV subscriber churn rate increased slightly to 1.67% versus 1.66% in the third quarter 2013.