Dish Swings to Third-Quarter Profit, Adds Subs

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Dish Network chairman Charlie Ergen

The satellite TV company led by Charlie Ergen had lost subscribers in the year-ago period but exceeded Wall Street expectations with its latest results.

Dish Network on Tuesday said it swung to a third-quarter profit and reported a subscriber gain after a year-ago decline.

The satellite TV giant, led by chairman Charlie Ergen, added 35,000 pay TV subscribers in the quarter ended Sept. 30. In the year-ago period it had lost 19,000 customers.

The subscriber gains came in better than analysts had predicted. Dish didn't immediately discuss the reasons. During the third quarter, a carriage dispute between CBS Corp. and Time Warner Cable also helped DirecTV post higher-than-expected subscriber gains.

The company ended September with 14.05 million subscribers.

Dish also reported earnings of $315 million, compared with a loss of $158 million in the year-ago period, when a legal settlement with Cablevision Systems and AMC Networks in the Voom litigation was a drag on the bottom line. Revenue of $3.60 billion compared with $3.52 billion in the year-ago period.

Wall Street had on average expected earnings of $203 million on revenue of $3.58 billion.

Pay TV-related average revenue per user for the third quarter totaled $81.05, up from $76.99 in the year-ago period.

Dish last week said it was closing down its 300 remaining Blockbuster movie rental stores.

Dish has also been negotiating with Disney to strike a new programming deal because an existing one has already expired. the parties have avoided a blackout, and Ergen told analysts during a conference call Tuesday that a long-term deal might be close.

"Both sides are trying to look at where the technology is going," Ergen said, "and what the world might look like in several years."

Twitter: @georgszalai