Dish Lost 133,000 Pay TV Subscribers in Fourth Quarter

3:21 AM PST 2/22/2021


Georg Szalai
Etan Vlessing

The company, led by chairman Charlie Ergen and CEO Erik Carlson, posts its latest results and records fourth-quarter growth in Sling TV subs.

On the analyst call, Dish chairman Charlie Ergen said Sling TV should have done better taking market share from competitors like YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV and fuboTV. “We should have more market share there. We stumbled a little bit with the quality of the user interface and user experience. Our network was best at the beginning, but we got a little complacent… We have room to improve, that’s for sure, we should have got more market share,” Ergen said in answer to an analyst question about Sling TV.

“They (HBO) had the final season of Game of Thrones coming up. We didn’t lose many customers, because our relationships were strong. They watch Showtime and Starz and Netflix. And HBO lost the revenue stream,” he told analysts.

Fourth-quarter net income reached $733 million, compared with $389 million in the year-ago quarter. Revenue was $4.56 billion compared with the $3.24 billion the company had recorded in the fourth quarter of 2019.

During the fourth quarter, Dish struck a new multi-year carriage agreement with TV station giant Nexstar Media Group, which covered local stations and the WGN America network.

Englewood, Colo.-based Dish last year also pushed into the retail wireless market through the $1.4 billion acquisition of Boost Mobile and is looking to launch a virtualized, standalone 5G network in the U.S. market.

Ergen accepted there were risks in Dish launching its 5G mobile phone network in competition with Chinese rivals like Huawei, but added the company had assembled a strong team to focus on its rollout, which may include bringing a strategic partner on board. “Right now, it’s right to be skeptical about our execution, but we can do it,” he told analysts.

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