Dish gains 249,000 subscribers in Q4

Numbers show that satellite TV is growing as cable shrinks

Dish Network on Monday proved that satellite television is growing while cable is shrinking, at least for now.

Dish gained 249,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter, and last month DirecTV said it gained 199,000 in the same frame, even as Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision Systems each reported losing thousands of subs. Charter is due to report Tuesday.

The additions give Dish 14.1 million subscribers to DirecTV's 18.6 million. Both lag the nation's top provider, Comcast, with 23.6 million.

Dish's subscriber metrics were reported Monday along with its quarterly financial results. The company's earnings fell 18% to $179 million on revenue that rose 1% to $3 billion.

Dish said the average user paid $70.04 per month during the quarter, up from $69.27 in the same quarter last year as subscribers upgraded to HDTV.

For the entire year, Dish earnings fell 30% to $636 million on revenue that was just above flat at $11.7 billion.

Dish, which gained 422,000 subs during the year, has now grown for three quarters straight, reversing a yearlong trend of declining subs.

Dish shares advanced 8% Monday to $21.50.

"Amid all the alarm bells being sounded about the imminency of video cord-cutting, pay TV industry subscriber growth appears to have accelerated," Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett said.