×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Dish Reports 2.2 Million Sling TV Customers in Q4 2017, Up 47% for the Year, as Satellite Subs Sag

Sling TV, Dish Network’s internet-delivered skinny bundle, stood at 2.21 million subscribers as of the end of last year — the first time the satellite operator has broken out figures for Sling TV from its legacy pay-TV base.

According to Dish, Sling TV’s customer base grew 47% in the fourth quarter of 2017 from 1.5 million in Q4 of 2016 — while its legacy satellite TV business continued to shrink, dropping 1.1 million over the course of last year.

The company closed Q4 of 2017 with 13.242 million total pay-TV subscribers, a net gain of 39,000 sequentially but down 429,000 from the year-earlier period. For the most recent quarter, Dish had 11.03 million traditional satellite-TV subs in addition to the 2.21 million Sling TV subs.

With 2.2 million customers, Sling TV is the largest “virtual pay-TV” service in the U.S., ahead of rivals including Sony’s PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, Hulu’s live TV service, FuboTV, AT&T’s DirecTV Now — which launched nearly three years after Sling TV.

Dish’s total Q4 2017 revenue of $3.48 billion (down 7% year over year) was slightly under Wall Street estimates, but the company turned in earnings that far exceeded analyst forecasts thanks to a tax benefit from the U.S.’s recent tax reform.

The company posted net income $1.39 billion, which included an income tax benefit of approximately $1.2 billion due to an adjustment to deferred tax assets and liabilities related to tax reform legislation. Dish’s diluted earnings per share were $2.64 for the fourth quarter of 2017, versus Wall Street consensus estimate of 56 cents per share.

In its 10-K filing with SEC, Dish disclosed historical subscriber figures for Sling TV. In 2015, its first year of commercial launch, Sling TV had 623,000 subscribers, more than doubling to 1.5 million in 2016. Sling TV, which is priced starting at $20 monthly, yields lower revenue per sub than satellite TV service but benefits from far lower subscriber-acquisition costs.

Dish’s subscriber net gain included 75,000 reactivations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which caused extension damage in the region.

For the full year 2017, Dish’s operating income fell 32%, to $1.57 billion, on a 5.1% decline in revenue (to $14.26 billion) as well as higher litigation costs of $295.7 million (versus $21 million in 2016) and a $145.9 million impairment charge related to the T1 satellite in its AWS-4 satellite fleet.

Dish has invested more than $11 billion to acquire wireless spectrum licenses and related assets, which are subject to certain build-out requirements under FCC regulations. In March 2017, the company notified the FCC that it plans to deploy a next-generation 5G-capable network, focused on supporting narrowband Internet of Things applications. Dish expects to spend $500 million to $1 billion on the first phase of the network deployment, slated to be completed by March 2020, the company disclosed in the 10-K.

In December, Dish announced that chairman Charlie Ergen would step aside from the CEO role to focus on the company’s emerging wireless business. Erik Carlson was named president and CEO, after previously serving as president and COO, and Dish announced other senior management changes.

More Biz

  • Sony/ATV Names Dana Baxter Senior VP

    Sony/ATV Music Publishing Names Dana Baxter Senior VP of Corporate Communications

    Sony/ATV Music Publishing today announced the appointment of Dana Baxter as Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, effective November 1.  According to the announcement, in this role, she will lead all global communications strategies to further advance Sony/ATV’s evolution and mission of putting songwriters first.  She will report to Jon Platt, Chairman and CEO of Sony/ATV and will [...]

  • Variety Cord Cutting Placeholder Cable

    Fox, Charter Strike New Carriage Deal

    Fox Corporation and Charter Communications, Inc. on Monday said they struck a new “long term” carriage deal for Fox’s suite of TV networks, the latest in a recent series of agreements Fox has struck with various distributors. Financial terms were not disclosed. The pact covers distribution of Fox Television Stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business [...]

  • netflix debt

    Netflix to Raise Another $2 Billion Through Debt to Fund Massive Content Spending

    Netflix, burning boatloads of cash with a projected $15 billion content budget for 2019, is adding to its debt load once again. On Monday (Oct. 21), Netflix announced plans to offer approximately $2.0 billion aggregate principal amount of junk bonds, in both U.S dollar and euro denominations. As of Sept. 30, Netflix reported $12.43 billion [...]

  • Luciano Bernardini de Pace, Pietro Peligra

    Variety Announces Launch of Variety Italy

    Variety has announced the launch of Variety Italy, a new Italian-language international edition that will feature original as well as syndicated Variety content geared towards an Italian audience. The partnership marks the publication’s second international edition, following the announcement of Variety China earlier this year. Variety has partnered with Web Magazine Makers, led by president [...]

  • Alan Horn Bill Tanner

    Alan Horn to Keynote Variety Business Managers Elite Breakfast, Bill Tanner to Be Honored

    Bill Tanner will be recognized with Variety’s 2019 Business Managers Elite Award at the annual Business Managers Elite Breakfast presented by City National Bank, which takes place in Beverly Hills on Nov. 13. Co-chairman and chief creative officer of The Walt Disney Studios Alan Horn will be the keynote speaker in conversation with Variety editor-in-chief, [...]

  • Smoke haze covers the Sydney Harbour

    Australia's Seven West to Merge With Affiliate Prime Media

    Australia’s Seven West Media has agreed a deal to acquire regional broadcast group Prime Media. The move is a further step in the consolidation of Australia’s traditional media industry. The two companies announced on Friday that Seven will make the acquisition entirely through the issue of new shares to the owners of Prime. Both companies [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content