Dish Loses 81,000 Pay TV Subs in 2015

Charlie Ergen - H 2015
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Charlie Ergen - H 2015

The Charlie Ergen-led company posted a slightly bigger subscriber decline than in 2014 despite the inclusion of Sling TV customers.

Dish Network on Thursday reported its full-year 2015 earnings and pay TV subscriber figures.

The satellite TV company, led by Charlie Ergen, posted full-year earnings of $747 million, compared with $945 million in the year-ago quarter. Revenue rose to $15.1 billion from $14.6 billion.

In a regulatory filing, the company later disclosed a fourth-quarter loss of $125.3 million, compared with a year-ago profit of $409.9 million.

Dish lost 81,000 net pay TV subscribers in 2015, ending with 13.90 million. In 2014, the company had lost 79,000 net subscribers.

The company included subscribers for its Sling TV streaming service for 2015 but didn't detail how many of those it added in the quarter or year or how many it had in total at the end of December.

"The increase in net pay TV subscriber losses versus the same period in 2014 resulted from a higher pay TV churn rate discussed below, partially offset by higher gross new pay TV subscriber activations, primarily related to the activation of Sling TV subscribers, which are reported net of disconnects," Dish said in the filing.

"Using the disclosures by Dish in its filing, we estimate that the [satellite TV] business lost 65,000 video subscribers and Sling TV added 53,000 subscribers" in the fourth quarter for a loss of 12,000, wrote Evercore ISI analyst Vijay Jayant.

Pay TV giants Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications recently posted pay TV subscriber growth for 2015.