Dish Network shed 268,000 pay-TV subscribers in the last three months of 2002, with both its traditional satellite service and its streamer Sling TV registering declines for both the fourth quarter and the full year, even as the company’s profit rose sharply.
The company also reported better-than-expected earnings for the quarter, and shares rose in morning trading.
Dish TV subscribers fell to 7.416 million on Dec. 31, from 7.607 million at the end September, the company said in its annual report, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday.
Sling saw subscriptions drop to 2.334 million from 2.411 million at the end of the third quarter.
The declines reversed a small gain in the previous quarter but confirmed a broader trend seen throughout 2022 for the Englewood, Colorado-based company. For the year, Dish TV subscriptions plunged by 805,000, or 10%, while Sling subscriptions slumped by 152,000, or 6%.
The subscriber losses came amid a tough year as the streaming market matured.
Dish’s discount wireless business Boost Mobile, which it bought in 2020, also saw customer declines. The company said it had 7.983 million wireless subscribers at the end of the fourth quarter, down from 8 million the prior quarter and 8.546 million a year earlier.
The company said in the filing it recently had “preliminary conversations” with CONX Corp., which is partially owned by Dish Chairman Charles W. Ergen, “regarding a transaction involving our Retail Wireless business.”
“There can be no assurance that these preliminary discussions will lead to a transaction nor as to the structure or terms of any such transaction,” the company said in the filing.
Dish reported net income for the fourth quarter of $935.5 million, or $1.47 per share, a 69% leap from earnings of $552.3 million, or 87 cents per share reported last year, and well above the 47 cents per share forecast by analysts surveyed by Zack’s Investment Research. In a note, Zack’s observed the company has topped consensus EPS estimates three times over the last four quarters.
The gain came despite revenue in the period slipping 9% to $4.04 billion, from $4.47 billion last year. Analysts were expecting revenue of $4.15 billion.
For all of 2022, Dish’s revenue fell 7% to $16.68 billion from $17.88 billion in 2021. The total included $12.5 billion from pay-TV and $4.2 billion from wireless.
Net income from the year dipped 4% to $2.3 billion from $2.41 billion in 2021.
Dish shares added $1.08, or 8.3%, to $14.16 in morning trading amid a broader market rise. The stock is flat since the start of the year.