Dish Network Loses Subscribers But Beats Earnings Predictions

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Dish co-founder Charlie Ergen

The satellite TV provider said it earned 76 cents per share, crushing analysts' predictions of 41 cents.

Dish Network on Monday reported that its quarterly income doubled even though it lost subscribers year-over-year.

The provider of satellite TV said it earned 76 cents per share, crushing analysts' predictions of 41 cents, and revenue was $3.72 billion, exactly the prediction of analysts.

The company said it ended the quarter with 13.8 million subscribers to its video service, down from 14.1 million a year earlier.

Shares of Dish were falling 1 percent in midday trading.

During the quarter, Dish had a dispute with 21st Century Fox that led to disruption of a few channels, an incident that may have caused a few more cancellations of Dish's service than normal. 

"Fox is one of the few stations you don't want to take down," Dish CEO Charlie Ergen acknowledged on a conference call Monday.

Dish, like other providers, is also having to deal with cord-cutters and cord-shavers, but the company has responded by launching Sling TV, which offers a skinny bundle of live television streamed over the Internet for $20 per month.

Ergen said Monday there is "no lack of demand" for advertising on Sling, though Dish is still ironing out the kinks in the technology. The service launched in January with 12 channels and has more than 20 today.

Ergen also called for "meaningful" restrictions to be forced on AT&T and DirecTV should regulators allow those two to complete their merger. He said if those companies combine, they'll have the scale to do "mischief."

Email: Paul.Bond@THR.com

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