×

Lack of HBO Fuels Dish’s Loss of 266,000 Satellite Subscribers in Q1, Sling TV Flat

Dish Network, already hurting from cord-cutting, again felt an added sting because of HBO and Univision programming blackouts for the first quarter of 2019.

The company posted an 8% decline in both revenue and profit, amid a loss of 266,000 net satellite TV subscribers in the period (versus a decline of 185,000 in Q1 2018) to stand at 9.639 million. Meanwhile, Dish’s over-the-top TV service, Sling TV, eked out just 7,000 net new subs in the quarter, essentially flat to 2.424 million.

Over the last 12 months, Dish’s satellite subs have plummeted 11%, with the company shedding 1.2 million customers.

Late in Q1, Univision and Dish finally reached a pact: On March 26 the companies announced a new carriage pact, after a nine-month standoff. Under the pact, Univision channels returned to Dish’s satellite lineup but will not come back to the Sling TV skinny bundles.

But Dish — which has a long history of playing hardball with programming suppliers — still hasn’t reached terms for HBO. On Oct. 31, 2018, HBO and Cinemax channels went dark on the Dish TV and Sling TV lineup, and since then “we and AT&T have been unable to negotiate the terms and conditions of a new programming carriage contract,” the satcaster said in its 10-Q filing Friday.

Dish noted that under AT&T’s agreement with the Justice Department in connection with its acquisition of Time Warner, Turner is required to enter into binding arbitration — and to guarantee continued access to programming — for any contract dispute. However, HBO isn’t covered under that provision. Last fall, Dish chairman Charlie Ergen accused AT&T of using HBO as “an economic weapon.”

Overall, Dish’s financial results were in line with Wall Street expectations. The Englewood, Colo.-based company posted $3.19 billion in revenue for Q1, down 8% year over year. Net income also dropped 8%, to $340 million for the quarter (65 cents per share). Analysts had forecast $3.19 billion in sales and EPS of 66 cents.

HBO’s blackout on Dish and Sling TV also is hurting HBO: The premium programmer’s revenue declined in the 7% in the first quarter, to $1.5 billion, which AT&T said was related to the Dish spat.

Ahead of the premiere of “Game of Thrones” season 8 last month, Dish pointed disgruntled HBO fans to the HBO Now OTT service — and provided instructions on how to sign up.

More Biz

  • WGA Agency Packaging Fight Placeholder Writer

    WGA Takes Aim at Endeavor IPO, Tells Members It Has 'Sufficient Funds' for Legal Battle

    The Writers Guild of America has gone to the Securities and Exchange Commission in its battle with Hollywood’s largest talent agencies over the issue of packaging fees and affiliated production. The guild sent a letter to William Hinman, director of the SEC’s corporate finance division, the guild accuses WME parent company Endeavor of misrepresenting the [...]

  • Honoree Yusef Salaam poses at the

    Yusef Salaam Signs With CAA (EXCLUSIVE)

    Yusef Salaam, one of the men who was exonerated after being wrongfully convicted in the 1989 Central Park jogger case, has signed with CAA for representation in all areas of business worldwide. The story of Salaam and the four other men — then boys — who were wrongfully convicted was recently told in Netflix’s miniseries [...]

  • Kim Kardashian West Kimono

    Kim Kardashian West's 'Kimono' Shapewear Sparks Backlash

    West announced yesterday that she was launching a line of form-fitting shapewear in nine different skin tones and a range of sizes. But the name of the reality star’s latest business venture — “Kimono” — is already wrapped up in controversy.Kimonos are Japanese robes traditionally worn at formal affairs, prompting some to accuse the businesswoman [...]

  • Discovery Corporate New Logo

    Discovery Faces Backlash From Unscripted Producers After Shift in Series Payment Process

    Discovery Inc. is facing a backlash from the unscripted production community following a shift in the cable giant’s protocol for paying for programming. During the past year, Discovery has implemented a new system that calls for the company to pay producers for shows after all episodes and related material for a given season have been [...]

  • Wendy Goldstein Named Republic Records President,

    Republic Records Names Wendy Goldstein President of West Coast Creative

    Republic Records advances Wendy Goldstein to President of West Coast Creative, label co-founders and chief executives Monte and Avery Lipman announced today. Goldstein has overseen the company’s Santa Monica office since 2017 as EVP of Republic Records. Over the past year, she headed up the label’s efforts for Ariana Grande’s  back-to-back No. 1 debuts for the singer’s “Sweetener” and “Thank U, Next” albums, and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content